The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) is the primary law governing fishing in U.S. waters. A model for fisheries management around the world, the measure is helping to rebuild fish populations and bring overfishing to near all-time lows. The success of this policy to date has enabled chefs throughout the country to offer a wider variety of domestic seafood that meets the environmental standards of our businesses.
During the Fall of 2019, more than 200 chefs signed the Portland Pact for Sustainable Seafood, signaling their commitment to sourcing and serving from sustainable U.S. fisheries. In the spring of 2020, a delegation of chefs headed to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and delivered the Portland Pact to Congress.
In 2021, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) introduced legislation to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act (H.R. 4690 – the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act). Although the Natural Resources Committee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife advanced the measure, it is not expected to pass before the end of the 117th Congress.
As a new congress gets underway in 2023, Chefs for Fish will continue to advocate for strong fisheries management that protects the health of the ocean and allows fisheries and coastal communities to thrive.
About the Magnuson Stevens Act
What is the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act?
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) is the landmark law that governs fishing in our federal ocean waters and is one of the world’s most successful fishery management policies. Enacted with strong bipartisan support in 1976, the legislation was updated in 1996 and again in 2006 to ensure it best supports both the interests of fishermen and a strong ocean ecosystem.
What does the Magnuson-Stevens Act do?
The Magnuson-Stevens Act mandates conservation and management principles that prevent overfishing, rebuild depleted stocks, and ensure that chefs and everyone else who relies on the ocean for healthy, plentiful fish stocks are able to enjoy the recreational and economic benefits of this resource, both now and far into the future.
Does the Magnuson-Stevens Act work?
The Magnuson-Stevens Act has become a model for fisheries management around the world, successfully rebuilding fish populations and bringing overfishing to near all-time lows. The success of this policy to date has enabled U.S. chefs to offer a wider variety of domestic seafood that meets our environmental standards in our kitchens and restaurants.
To maintain this progress, we must preserve the strong conservation measures of the MSA that prioritize the long-term health of U.S. fish stocks over short-term economic gains, such as:
- Requiring management decisions be science-based;
- Avoiding overfishing with catch limits and tools that hold everyone accountable for the fish that they remove from the ocean; and
- Ensuring the timely recovery of depleted fish stocks.
To keep our businesses and our oceans healthy, we support sustainably managed U.S. fisheries and are committed to promoting the continued success of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources.
- More than half of U.S. consumers say buying sustainable seafood is important and many are willing to pay a premium. Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch offers a variety of resources to help businesses source and serve sustainable options.
- NOAA’s annual Status of the Stocks report highlights efforts to maximize fishing opportunities while ensuring the sustainability of fisheries and fishing communities that support the American economy. The report shows that since 2000, 47 stocks have been rebuilt under the MSA and overfishing has been eliminated in 90% of stocks.