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Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act

The Magnuson‐Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act (MSRA) of 2006, which amended the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act (Moratorium Protection Act), directs the United States to strengthen international fisheries management organizations and to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and bycatch of protected living marine resources.  The Moratorium Protection Act was further amended in 2011 by the Shark Conservation Act to improve the conservation of sharks domestically and internationally.

The Moratorium Protection Act requires NOAA Fisheries to produce a biennial Report to Congress that lists nations the United States has identified for IUU fishing and/or bycatch of protected species and shark catches on the high seas for nations that do not have regulatory measures comparable to the United States.   


Once a nation is identified, we enter a two-year consultation process to encourage that nation to take necessary measures to address the issue for which it was identified. Following these consultations, NOAA Fisheries determines whether to negatively or positively certify the identified nation in the next Report to Congress.  A positive certification is issued if the nation has provided evidence of actions that address the activities for which it was identified.  A negative certification may result in denial of U.S. port access for fishing vessels of that nation, and potential import restrictions on fish or fish products. 

Past Accomplishments

In February 2015, NOAA identified six nations for IUU fishing in 2013 and 2014.  The United States had consultations with the identified nations to encourage them to take action to address IUU fishing by their fishermen.  Five of six nations identified for illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the 2015 report took action to address the identified issues and now have a positive certification. 

In January 2013, ten nations whose vessels were engaged in IUU fishing were identified in the Report to Congress.  The United States successfully worked with these nations, each of which took the appropriate corrective actions and received positive certifications in the 2015 Report to Congress for their IUU activities.

Next Steps

In January 2017, three nations were identified as having vessels reported to be engaged in IUU activity during 2014-2016. On behalf of the United States, NOAA Fisheries will consult with each nation to encourage action to address these activities and improve fisheries management and enforcement practices.

For more information on the international provisions of the MSRA and implementation of the Moratorium Protection Act, please contact Kristin Rusello (



Shark/IUU Fishing Final Rule (2013) - Implements the international provisions of the Shark Conservation Act. This rule specifies procedures for identifying and certifying nations whose vessels target sharks on the high seas. It also amends the definition of IUU fishing to help ensure a comprehensive approach to addressing unsustainable fisheries activities of greatest concern to the United States.

IUU Fishing/Bycatch Final Rule (2011) - Establishes procedures for the identification and certification of nations whose vessels are engaged in IUU fishing or bycatch of Protected Living Marine Resources.