Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Management Act

Jan 22, 2014

Credit James Butler via Flickr

The federal law that governs fishing activity throughout the country is up for reauthorization this year. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Management Act was first passed in 1976 primarily to address the problem of foreign illegal fishing and to promote the domestic fishing industry.

However, changes to the law in 1996 and 2006 shifted focus away from promotion of the industry and toward more stringent regulations to prevent overfishing from threatening the populations of important fish species.

As federal lawmakers work to reauthorize the MSA, commercial fishing interests say catch limit restrictions are cutting into their bottom line, but environmental advocates warn that overfishing remains a problem that threatens both the marine environment and the future of the industry.

We’ll also explore a recent study from Audubon Florida and the Pew Charitable Trusts about the importance of forage fish to coastal birds and the marine ecosystem.