Bevan Series: Issues at the Fore in the Land of Magnuson and Stevens

“The Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) is the Nation’s premier law governing fisheries conservation and management. Since its inception in 1976 the Act has been amended as the Sustainable Fishery Act in 1996, and most recently reauthorized in 2006; in each instance based on substantial changes to correct, clarify and expand initial provisions contained in National Standards that guide planning and implementation. Requirement for reauthorization provides opportunity to examine effectiveness of myriad provisions intended to curb overfishing, reduce bycatch, and sustain communities, among many goals. It is timely that a symposium focused on MSA be held since the Act is now being reviewed for reauthorization, and both Senate and House committees are actively engaged in hearing perspectives from diverse stakeholders that will guide language intended to preserve effective aspects of the act, correct policies and procedures that do not comply with National Standards in various ways, and sharpen process and procedure used by Regional Councils in their planning and implementation of the Act. The Bevan Series on Sustainable Fisheries, now in its 14th year at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences in partnership with the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, UW, is a proper venue to host a symposium focused on MSA. Following from a national event, Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries in spring 2013, the Bevan-MSA symposium this April 2014 will encourage many stakeholders, including fishery scientists, managers, policy analysts, students, NGOs, Tribes, and Industry, to voice their views on what works, what’s vague, what’s detrimental, and what’s missing from MSA. Focus will be on issues, lessons, and experience drawn from West Coast and North Pacific fisheries, with National context used to provide perspective in eventually drawing a list of priorities to convey to architects redrafting the Act.

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