Special Report: Magnuson National Standards Update | Ocean Strategies

August 30, 2023

For more information on important federal fisheries changes, download the fact sheet: MSA Guidelines Update

NMFS Opens Door for Updates to Federal Guidelines

NOAA Fisheries is proposing updates to federal guidelines for the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA)  National Standards — specifically those that address Allocations, Communities and Bycatch. These agency guidelines advise the regional fishery management councils on how to interpret and balance the 10 standards as they develop fishery management plans. Comments can be submitted here and are due September 12, 2023.

Though the reauthorization of MSA — the primary fishery law in the United States — is long overdue, the new status quo of gridlock in Congress is preventing stakeholders from offering critical and time-sensitive input to federal fishery management through a reauthorization. However, updating agency guidelines is another one of the established ways that decision makers and stakeholders work together to periodically review and revise regulatory practice to account for modern challenges.

Fisheries stakeholders around the world are attempting to cope with climatic events with increasing frequency and magnitude. Our domestic fishing fleets are facing unprecedented rates of change, including species shifting, habitat loss and degradation, and unpredictable changes in biomass.

U.S. fishery managers are also grappling with equity implications in fishery access and the importance of community-based fisheries, as laid out in the NOAA Fisheries Equity and Environmental Justice Strategy.

NMFS is considering an update to the guidelines as one way to address some of these complex problems. Ocean Strategies has been following the agency’s actions and developed a fact sheet as an entry point for all stakeholders to understand the process and how to provide feedback to NOAA Fisheries on this important process. Submit comments here by September 12th.

Effective management response is critical to a consistent domestic seafood supply and food security, which affects any business or household that relies on fisheries, from fishermen to buyers, retailers and restaurants.

If you are a fisheries stakeholder in any capacity, this process affects your access to wild domestic seafood. Additionally, the proposed changes could affect investment and access to responsible domestic aquaculture development for years to come, as aquaculture often overlaps with wild capture within seafood-dependent communities and supply chains.

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For more information on important federal fisheries changes, download the fact sheet: MSA Guidelines Update

Ocean Strategies

Ocean Strategies

Ocean Strategies is a versatile public affairs firm specializing in seafood, fisheries and marine resources.

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