Oceana Welcomes New Legislation to Improve U.S. Fisheries Management - Oceana USA

Oceana Welcomes New Legislation to Improve U.S. Fisheries Management

Press Release Date: June 27, 2024



Megan Jordan | email: mjordan@oceana.org | tel: 202.868.4061

Today, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) — ranking member of the Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee — and Reps. Ed Case (D-HI), Mary Peltola (D-AK), and James Moylan (R-GU) introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the primary law governing U.S. marine fisheries that has been in place since 1976 and last reauthorized in 2006. The legislation, titled “Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act of 2024, ”  would improve habitat conservation, bycatch management and requirements to rebuild stocks. 

Oceana applauded the bill’s introduction and released the following statement from Campaign Director Gib Brogan: 

“Our oceans and fisheries are changing at record speed and it is time to bring America’s landmark federal fisheries law into the 21st century. Information and improved technology exist today that were only ideas when the law was last authorized and Reps. Jared Huffman, Ed Case, Mary Peltola, and James Moylan should be commended for their leadership in championing changes to modernize the management tools that will guide fisheries for the future. Healthy fisheries are critical to ocean resiliency and sustaining our coastal communities and economies. Oceana welcomes this forward-thinking legislation and appreciates working with Congress to strengthen our nation’s hallmark fisheries law.”

Improvements from the original bill include:

  • Improving bycatch reduction and habitat conservation requirements
  • Enhancing rebuilding requirements 
  • Creating a new requirement for a national standardized reporting program for bycatch in U.S. fisheries
  • Adding climate change considerations and adaptive tools to account for shifting fish stocks

The MSA is one of the most effective fisheries laws in the world today. Originally signed into law with bipartisan support in 1976, the MSA has been updated (or “reauthorized”) several times since then. The most recent reauthorization took place in 2006 and significantly strengthened the MSA’s focus on conservation, science-based management, and long-term sustainability. While the MSA has brought back several fisheries from the brink of collapse after decades of overfishing, Oceana says more must be done. In NOAA’s 2023 Status of Stocks report, 47 fish stocks are considered overfished.