Digest of Federal Resource Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976

Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 -- Public Law 94-265, approved April 13, 1976; 16 U.S.C. 1801-1882; 90 Stat. 331; as amended by numerous subsequent public laws listed and identified in the U.S. Code.

Also known as Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, this law established a 200-mile fishery conservation zone, effective March 1, 1977, and established Regional Fishery Management Councils comprised of Federal and State officials, including the Fish and Wildlife Service. The concept of a fishery conservation zone was subsequently dropped by amendment and the geographical area of coverage was changed to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), with the inner boundary being the seaward boundary of the coastal States.

The Act provides for management of fish and other species in the EEZ under plans drawn up by the Regional Councils and reviewed and approved by the Secretary of Commerce. It provides for regulation of foreign fishing in the management zone under GIFA's (governing international fishing agreements) and vessel fishing permits. It also provides a mechanism for preemption of State law by the Secretary of Commerce.

Section 107 of P.L. 101-627, the Fishery Conservation Amendments of 1990, approved November 28, 1990, amended section 206 of the Act to incorporate and expand upon provisions of the Driftnet Act. (For more information, see that entry.)

Title IX of Public Law 102-567, signed October 29, 1992 (102 Stat. 4270) amends the Act to provide for the restoration of New England groundfish and includes the following provisions of interest to the Service:

Major amendments to the Act were enacted on October 11, 1996. Those amendments, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (P.L. 104-297), more popularly known as the Sustainable Fisheries Act made important changes in Federal efforts to conserve marine fishery resources. Major provisions include:

Return to Resource Laws