Bycatch provisions in the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act

Lee R. Benaka, Laura F. Cimo, Lekelia D. Jenkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Bycatch can harm ma rine ecosystems, reduce biodiversity, lead to injury or mortality of protected species, and have severe economic implications for fisheries. On 12 January 2007, President George W. Bush signed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 (MSRA). The MSRA required the U.S. Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to establish a Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program (BREP) to develop technological devices and other conservation engineering changes designed to minimize bycatch, seabird interactions, bycatch mortality, and post-release mortality in Federally managed fisheries. The MSRA also required the Secretary to identify nations whose vessels are engaged in the bycatch of protected living marine resources (PLMR's) under specified circumstances and to certify that these nations have 1) adopted regulatory programs for PLMR's that are comparable to U.S. programs, taking into account different conditions, and 2) established management plans for PLMR's that assist in the collection of data to support assessments and conservation of these resources. If a nation fails to take sufficient corrective action and does not receive a positive certification, fishing products from that country may be subject to import prohibitions into the United States. The BREP has made significant progress to develop technological devices and other conservation engineering designed to minimize bycatch, including improvements to bycatch reduction devices and turtle excluder devices in Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico trawl fisheries, gillnets in Northeast fisheries, and trawls in Alaska and Pacific Northwest fisheries. In addition, the international provisions of the MSRA have provided an innovative tool through which the United States can address bycatch by foreign nations. However, the inability of the National Marine Fisheries Service to identify nations whose vessels are engaged in the bycatch of PLMR's to date will require the development of additional approaches to meet this mandate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Fisheries Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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