U.S. Votes for Sustainable Ocean Fisheries
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 spells relief for hard-pressed coastal sea life within the overfished 200-mile U.S. offshore zone. This revamped version of the 1976 primary law governing fishing in U.S. waters has won approval of both President Bush and Congress. Despite being watered down by commercial fishing interests, conservationists believe the bill represents real progress. Even “as it stands now, [it] would preserve the 1996 shift to sustainability,” says Lee Crockett of the Marine Fish Conservation Network.
Provisions call for more systematic and scientific annual catch limits, unified national management, and stronger oversight of fisheries and other marine resources in accord with international treaties. Scientists and citizens agree on the sense of urgency. According to Care2.com, “Today only 13 percent of America’s ocean fish populations are known to be healthy.” More than 100,000 emails and letters to Congress registered public support for the measure.