IB10010 - Fishery, Aquaculture, and Marine Mammal Legislation in the 106th Congress
15-Mar-2001; Eugene Buck; 9 p.
Abstract: Fish and marine mammals are important resources in the open ocean and nearshore coastal areas. A diverse body of laws and regulations guides the management of these resources by a multitude of federal agencies.
Commercial and sport fishing are jointly managed by the federal government and individual states. States manage fishery resources in inshore waters where 30% to 40% of the annual U.S. commercial harvest is taken. Beyond state jurisdiction and out to 200 miles, the federal government manages fisheries under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA) through the actions of eight regional fishery management councils. Beyond 200 miles, the United States participates in a multitude of international agreements relating to specific areas or species.
Legislation related to commercial and sport fisheries enacted by the 106th Congress addressed numerous concerns, including regulation of large fishing vessels, reauthorization of the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act and the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act, prohibition of shark finning, coral reef conservation, authorization for new fishery survey vessels, new salmon restoration measures for the Army Corps of Engineers in the Columbia River basin, estuarine habitat restoration, a pilot program to insure wild salmon fishermen for harvest failure risks, and creation of a Commission on Ocean Policy.
Aquaculture -- the farming of fish, shellfish, and other aquatic animals and plants in a controlled environment -- is expanding rapidly, both in the United States and abroad. In the United States, important species cultured include catfish, salmon, crawfish, shellfish, and trout.
No major legislation related to aquaculture was enacted by the 106th Congress.
Marine mammals are provided extensive protection under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972, as amended. This Act authorizes restricted use (¨take¨) of marine mammals and addresses specific situations of concern, such as dolphin mortality primarily associated with the eastern tropical Pacific tuna fishery.
Legislation enacted by the 106th Congress related to marine mammals included federal funding for marine mammal stranding programs, revocation of an MMPA exemption allowing subsistence hunting of Cook Inlet beluga whales, completion of the withdrawal of federal civil administration of the Pribilof Islands, and authorization to study the eastern gray whale.
Authorization of appropriations for major legislation in this issue area -- the MSFCMA and the MMPA -- expired at the end of FY1999. In the 106th Congress, oversight hearings were held on implementation of various programs under these authorities and three bills were introduced to reauthorize the MSFCMA; no further action was taken.