May 9 2013

Big environmental push for new fisheries regs slowed at NOAA Managing Fisheries Conference in DC

Seafood News

After three days at the Managing our Nations Fisheries Conference in Washington DC, there is clearly no overriding fisheries reform issue that is going to get resolved quickly through new NOAA or congressional action.

This is a very positive outcome, and reflects a sense of stability about US fisheries management.

First, the conference was extremely well organized, and the full materials are available at the conference website: www.managingfisheries.org.

The overall tone of the conference reflected the success that the 2006 revision of Magnuson has had in setting in place a sustainable approach to US fisheries. There was a recognition that applying harvest limits to virtually all fisheries, and implementing catch share type allocation systems in many fisheries, has had a hugely positive impact on eliminating overfishing, and on reducing bycatch and impacts on non-target species.

However, seven years after the 2006 bill, there are a number of things that the 8 regional management councils would like to see improved.

The conference did not come to any conclusions – but instead the discussions set the stage for the lobbying and back and forth with NOAA, and in Congress, that will result in updates to the National Standards – the enabling language on which the councils act – and on possible changes to the Magnuson bill when the new authorization is achieved.

Changes in NOAAs interpretation of the Act under their regulatory authority are likely to happen far more quickly, and with good result, that the changes to Magnuson Act itself, which will be a monumental multi-year task.

The following are some of the brief issue summaries and positions discussed at the conference.

Read full story here.

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