DOWLOAD THE FULL PDF: Rewriting the Magnuson-Stevens Act
REWRITTEN NATIONAL STANDARDS
(a) IN GENERAL.—Any fishery management plan prepared, and any regulation promulgated to implement any such plan, pursuant to this title shall be consistent with the following equally paramount national standards for fishery conservation and management:
(1) Conservation and management measures shall, promote the safety of human life at sea. Conservation and management measures shall maximize yield (or some economic function of yield) subject to the constraint of keeping fishing mortality at or below a level specified by the Council. Conservation and management measures shall, take into account and balance the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities with fishing mortality goals, by utilizing economic and social data that meet the requirements of National Standard (2), in order to (A) provide for the sustained vitality of such communities, and (B) minimize adverse economic impacts on such communities.
(2) Conservation and management measures shall be based upon the best scientific information available. The best available science shall be derived by a collaborative effort of government, educational institutions, and private and non-profit scientists coordinated by NMFS and NMFS’s regional SSCs. The best scientific information available shall be determined by the Council after a comprehensive review of multiple analyses and the pros and cons of each analysis, as presented by the SSC in conjunction with other fisheries scientists. Advanced technological mechanisms shall be utilized in every instance to gather and analyze samples and data.
(3) Conservation and management measures shall take into account and allow for variations among, and contingencies in, fisheries, fishery resources, and catches. An individual stock of fish shall be managed as a unit throughout its range, and interrelated stocks of fish shall be managed as a unit or in close coordination. Conservation and management measures shall, (A) minimize bycatch and (B) to the extent bycatch cannot be avoided, account for and allow the bycatch to enter the marketplace.
(4) Conservation and management measures shall minimize costs and avoid unnecessary duplication. Conservation and management measures shall not discriminate between residents of different States. If it becomes necessary to allocate or assign fishing privileges among various United States fishermen, such allocation shall be (A) fair and equitable to all such fishermen; (B) reasonably calculated to promote conservation and maximize yield as specified in National Standard 1; and (C) carried out in such manner that no particular individual, corporation, or other entity acquires an excessive share of such privileges.
(5) Conservation and management measures shall consider efficiency in the utilization of fishery resources; except that no such measure shall have economic allocation as its sole purpose.
Condensing the National Standards into a logical format into five interrelated standards will enable NOAA, the NMFS and the Council to more effectively implement the Congressional intent of MSA. Let the debate begin but let’s have an honest debate as how to rewrite and reauthorize of this most important statute. The clear purpose of our efforts should be to ensure that the fisheries management system is effective, fair, transparent, and responsive to the ever changing natural environment and socio-economic needs of the fishing communities.
This paper was presented in the keynote address by Dr. Rothschild at the Pacific Marine Expo on November 20, 2013. To read Dr. Rothschild’s entire keynote speech, please click below.