Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation & Management Act
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) is the primary law governing marine fisheries management in U.S. federal waters. First passed in 1976, the Magnuson-Stevens Act fosters long-term biological and economic sustainability of our nation's marine fisheries out to 200 nautical miles from shore. Key objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act are to:
- Prevent overfishing
- Rebuild overfished stocks
- Increase long-term economic and social benefits
- Use reliable data and sound science
- Conserve essential fish habitat
- Ensure a safe and sustainable supply of seafood
Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, eight regional fishery management councils develop fishery management plans (FMPs) specific to their regions, fisheries, and fish stocks. Fishery management council members include representatives from regional states, treaty fishing tribes, fishery and ocean stakeholders, and the Federal government. For waters off the U.S. West Coast, the Pacific Fishery Management Council has developed four FMPs, which are implemented through our fisheries regulations for coastal pelagic species, groundfish species, highly migratory species, and salmon species. These FMPs must comply with the Magnuson-Stevens Act’s conservation and management requirements, including the 10 National Standards—principles that promote sustainable fisheries management.
Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, U.S. fisheries management is a transparent and robust process of science, management, innovation, and collaboration with the fishing industry. In addition to our partnerships with state and tribal agencies, academia, and the public, NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region collaborates with the Northwest and Southwest Fisheries Science Centers, as well as with the Alaska and Pacific Islands Science Centers for our more far-flung stocks. We rely on scientific data and analyses to manage and conserve U.S. fish stocks and their ecosystems to provide current and future generations of Americans with commercial and recreational fishing opportunities, so that they and their communities and shoreside businesses can reap the economic and health benefits of sustainably-managed marine fisheries.