The national fisheries located off the coast of Alaska produce an economic value in excess of 13 billion dollars annually
The Magnuson-Stevens Act sets forth 10 National Standards to guide the regional councils in development of fishery management plans (table above).
The Magnuson-Stevens Act
The Magnuson-Stevens Act is the main law governing management of living marine resources in the United States.
Originally designed to encourage local-level participation and representation through eight regional councils, the Magnuson-Stevens Act set up a regional fishery management council system and described how it would work.
The Act extended control of U.S. waters to 200 miles offshore; phased-out foreign fishing activities within what is called an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and created measures to prevent overfishing - and to conserve and manage fishery resources.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional councils established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976 to manage fisheries in the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Council primarily manages groundfish in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, targeting cod, pollock, flatfish, mackerel, sablefish and rockfish species harvested by trawl, jig, longline and pot gear.
The Council also makes allocation decisions for halibut, in concert with the International Pacific Halibut Commission that biologically manages the halibut resource for U.S. and Canada waters. Actions of the Council must conform with various environmental laws and the above noted Magnuson-Stevens National Standards.
National Marine Fishery Service
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is responsible for the stewardship of the nation's ocean resources and their habitat.
Its mission charges this organization with the task of providing productive and sustainable fisheries, safe sources of seafood, the recovery and conservation of protected resources and healthy ecosystems.
Using the Magnuson-Stevens Act as the guide, the National Marine Fisheries Service works in partnership with Regional Fishery Management Councils (see above for information on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council) to assess and predict the status of fish stocks, set catch limits, ensure compliance with fisheries regulations, and reduce bycatch.
NMFS is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce. It has five regional offices, six science centers, and more than 20 laboratories around the United States and U.S. territories.