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Other Provisions

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act (MSRA) calls for renewed efforts to end overfishing, increase use of market-based management tools, and apply ecosystem approaches to management. The information below is intended to provide historical information on the implementation of the law. 

Please note, this page provides a historical context and is no longer updated. 

Click on the topics below to explore additional information related to 2007 MSA Reauthorization implementation.

Actions by the Councils and Regions

Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program

NOAA Fisheries adopted the Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program. Visit the Bycatch website for more information on this program, including news and reports.

Community-Based Habitat Restoration Program

On September 26, 2008, NOAA Fisheries published updated guidelines for the Community-Based Restoration Program (73 FR 55816). This notice made minor changes to previously published guidelines and highlighted specific authorization for the program established in the MSRA. 

Learn more about NOAA's Community-Based Restoration Program.

Confidentiality of Information

NOAA Fisheries proposed revisions to regulations governing the confidentiality of information submitted in compliance with any requirement or regulation under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The purpose of these revisions was to make both substantive and non-substantive changes necessary to comply with the MSA as amended by the 2006 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act and the 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act. In addition, revisions were necessary to address some significant issues that concern NOAA Fisheries' application of the MSA confidentiality provision to requests for information. Written comments on the MSA Confidentiality of Information proposed rule were accepted through October 21, 2012.

Council Multi-Year Research Plans

The regional fishery management councils (councils) developed, in conjunction with the Scientific and Statistical Committees, 5-year research priorities for fisheries, fisheries interactions, habitats, and other areas of research that are necessary for management purposes. These research priorities were intended to be updated as necessary and submitted to the Secretary and NOAA Fisheries regional science centers for consideration in developing research priorities and budgets for the council. Below are the research plans for each council:

For more information on current council research plans, see the appropriate council website.

Council SOPPs

NOAA Fisheries proposed changes to the regulations that address the operations and administration of the regional fishery management councils (councils). The regulatory changes were needed to clarify which council documents should be available to the public, clarify council member nomination procedures, clarify financial disclosure requirements for council members, and revise the security assurance procedures for nominees to and members of the councils. Written comments were accepted through January 6, 2010.

NOAA Fisheries also proposed changes to the regulations that address the operations and administration of the councils. The regulatory changes were needed to implement amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act that, among other things, govern the Council Coordination Committee, expand the role of the councils' Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), require that SSC members disclose their financial interests, and provide for training of council members and staff. Additionally, the proposed rule outlined changes to the regulations requiring councils to provide procedures for proposed regulations, clarifying restrictions on lobbying, and clarifying timing in the council member nomination process. The proposed rule also suggested technical and minor corrections to the regulations unrelated to the most recent Magnuson-Stevens Act amendments. The comment period was extended, and comments were accepted through November 2, 2009.

On September 27, 2010, NOAA Fisheries issued final changes to the regulations that address the operations and administration of councils. The regulatory changes implemented the MSRA that, among other things, established the Council Coordinating Committee, required that the councils' Science and Statistical Committee members disclose their financial interests, and provided for training of council members and staff. Additionally, this final rule clarified the council documents that should be available to the public; the restrictions on lobbying; the procedures for council member nomination, including timing for submission of nominations; and also required councils to provide procedures for deeming regulations necessary and or appropriate for implementing fishery management plans and plan amendments. These regulations also set forth additional financial disclosure requirements for council members, and revised the security assurance procedures for nominees to and members of the councils. Finally, this rule made technical and minor corrections to the regulations unrelated to the most recent Magnuson-Stevens Act amendments. This final rule was effective October 27, 2010.

Data Sharing

NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Coast Guard submitted a joint report to Congress on fishery management systems and data sharing.

Disaster Assistance

NOAA Fisheries proposed regulations to govern the requests for determinations of fishery resource disasters as a basis for acquiring potential disaster assistance. The regulations proposed definitions and characteristics of commercial fishery failures, fishery resource disasters, serious disruptions affecting future production, and harm incurred by fishermen. The proposed rule also outlined requirements for initiating a review by NOAA Fisheries, and the administrative process for processing such applications. Comments were accepted through April 20, 2009.

On June 16, 2011, the Department of Commerce released a policy to provide guidance on how NOAA Fisheries would evaluate requests for fishery disaster declarations.

Disclosure of Financial Interest and Recusal

  • 2007 Report on Disclosure of Financial Interest and Recusal Requirements For regional fishery management councils and Scientific and Statistical Committees under MSRA
  • View updated annual reports

Ecosystem Research

Section 406 of the MSRA charged NOAA Fisheries, in consultation with the regional fishery management councils, to undertake a study on the state of the science for advancing the concepts and integration of ecosystem considerations in regional fishery management. On March 25, 2009, NOAA Fisheries released the Report to Congress: The State of Science to Support an Ecosystem Approach to Regional Fishery Management.

Exempted Fishing Activities

On December 21, 2007, NOAA Fisheries issued a proposed rule and request for comments on research activities, exempted fishing, and exempted educational activities.

On August 25, 2009, NOAA Fisheries issued a final rule with new and revised definitions for certain regulatory terms, and procedural and technical changes to the regulations addressing scientific research activities, exempted fishing, and exempted educational activities under the MSRA.

Fishery Finance Program

On May 5, 2010, NOAA Fisheries published a proposed rule to amend regulations to reflect the statutory changes to the Fishery Finance Program and to provide regulations for two additional lending products. The Fishery Finance Program provides long-term financing to the commercial fishing and aquaculture industries for fishing vessels, fisheries facilities, aquaculture facilities, and individual fishing quotas. The Fishery Finance Program became a direct loan program, as a result of legislation in 1996, replacing a guaranteed loan program. It collects loan principal and interest from loan recipients and fees from applicants in order to repay monies borrowed from the U.S. Treasury. It maintains fixed interest rates that are comparable to those of private sector lenders, however the Fishery Finance Program allows borrowers to prepay without penalty, and may carry longer repayment periods that are more advantageous to borrowers. The Fishery Finance Program does not make loans for new vessel construction or for vessel refurbishments that would increase harvesting capacity. Since the publication of the previous regulations on May 1, 1996, the Fishery Finance Program's authorizing statutes were amended several times. However, the regulations implementing the Fishery Finance Program had not been amended since 1996. Prior to the 2006 amendments to the Fishery Finance Program's statutory authorization, the 1996 rules were sufficient to implement the statute. Public comments on this proposed rule were accepted through June 4, 2010.

On December 16, 2010, NOAA Fisheries issued final regulations pursuant to its authority under Chapter 537 of the Shipping Act, (formerly known as Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as amended and codified), as well as the Magnuson-Stevens Act. These regulations revised the operating rules of the Fishery Finance Program and set forth procedures, eligibility criteria, loan terms, and other requirements related to Fishery Finance Program lending to the commercial fishing and aquaculture industries. Fishery Finance Program assistance includes loans for fishing vessels, fish processing facilities, aquaculture facilities, individual fishing quota permits, and participants in community development quota programs. This final rule was effective January 18, 2011.

Fishery Science Degrees

In a Report to Congress NOAA Fisheries summarized the results of a study on the number of people pursuing and obtaining higher education in fishery science. The study reviewed whether there was a shortage of people with the ability to conduct high quality research in fishery population dynamics, stock assessments and related fields. This study included important conclusions for the future of higher education and fisheries management. 

Fishing Capacity Reduction

On June 14, 2010, NOAA Fisheries issued proposed amendments to the framework regulations specifying procedures for implementing fishing capacity reduction programs (reduction programs). Comments were accepted through July 29, 2010.

On October 8, 2010, NOAA Fisheries issued final amendments to the framework regulations specifying procedures for implementing fishing capacity reduction programs (reduction programs) in accordance with the MSRA. A reduction program pays harvesters in a fishery that has more vessels than capacity either to surrender their fishing permits including relevant fishing histories for that fishery, or surrender all their fishing permits and cancel their fishing vessels’ fishing endorsements by permanently withdrawing the vessel from all fisheries. The cost of the program can be paid by post-reduction harvesters, taxpayers, or others. The intent of a program is to decrease the number of harvesters in the fishery, increase the economic efficiency of harvesting, and facilitate the conservation and management of fishery resources in each fishery in which NOAA Fisheries conducts a reduction program. This final rule was effective November 8, 2010.

Hurricane Impacts

IFQ Referenda Guidelines

NOAA Fisheries guidelines and procedures for determining procedures and voting eligibility requirements for referenda on Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program proposals:

Klamath River Basin Salmon Plan and Study

Annual Reports to Congress and additional information related to activities in the Klamath River Basin are available through the NOAA Fisheries West Coast regional office.

Investment in Seafood Processing

NOAA Fisheries and the U.S Small Business Administration released a study on the extent of investment in U.S. seafood processing capacity. This report discussed the state of U.S. Seafood process capacity, the current condition of lobster processing in the state of Maine, and provides information on federal programs that are available to U.S. seafood processors.

Pacific Whiting

NOAA Fisheries issued a final rule for the 2012 Pacific whiting fishery under the authority of the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006, the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The final rule established:

  • The tribal allocation of 48,556 metric tons of Pacific whiting for 2012
  • Provisions associated with the reapportionment of unused tribal whiting to the non-tribal fishery in 2012.
  • Final allocations of Pacific whiting to the non-tribal sector for 2012. 

This rule, which was effective May 11, 2012, incorporated the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) recommendation from the Joint Management Committee for the Treaty with Canada.

Peer Review/National Standard 2

On July 19, 2013, NOAA Fisheries issued a final action to amend the guidelines for National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act regarding scientific information. Consistent with the President’s memo on Scientific Integrity (March 9, 2009) and NOAA Administrative Order 202– 735D, the revised National Standard 2 guidelines are intended to ensure the highest level of integrity and strengthen public confidence in the quality, validity and reliability of scientific information disseminated by NOAA Fisheries in support of fishery management actions. This action provides guidance on what constitutes best scientific information available for the effective conservation and management of fisheries managed under federal fishery management plans, and adds new language to the National Standard 2 guidelines regarding the advisory role of the Scientific and Statistical Committees (SSCs) of the regional fishery management councils and the relationship of SSCs to the peer review process. The revised National Standard 2 guidelines also clarify the content and purpose of the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Report and related documents. This action was effective July 19, 2013. 

On December 11, 2009, NOAA Fisheries proposed revisions to the guidelines for National Standard 2. This action was necessary to provide guidance on the use of best scientific information available for the effective conservation and management of the nation's marine living resources. Written comments were accepted through March 11, 2010. Read the Regulatory Impact Review/Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis for this proposed rule.

On September 18, 2008, NOAA Fisheries requested public comment on proposed rulemaking to revise National Standard 2 guidelines regarding use of best scientific information available. Written comments on that advanced notice of proposed rulemaking were accepted through December 17, 2008. 

For current information, visit the National Standard 2 Guidelines web page.

Study on Ocean Acidification

The MSRA required the Secretary of Commerce to request the National Research Council conduct a study on the acidification of the oceans and how this process affects U.S. fisheries. 

Technical Changes

On November 17, 2008 (73 FR 67809), NOAA Fisheries issued minor changes to update regulations amended by the MSRA. These changes resolved inconsistencies in language between the MSRA and codified text. These changes were effective November 17, 2008.

Tsunami Warning and Education

The MSRA included, in Title VIII, the Tsunami Warning and Education Act. The purposes of this title were to:

  • Improve tsunami detection, forecasting, warnings, notification, outreach, and mitigation to protect life and property in the United States.
  • Enhance and modernize the existing Pacific Tsunami Warning System to increase coverage, reduce false alarms, and increase the accuracy of forecasts and warnings, and to expand detection and warning systems to include other vulnerable states and United States territories, including the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico areas.
  • Improve mapping, modeling, research, and assessment efforts to improve tsunami detection, forecasting, warnings, notification, outreach, mitigation, response, and recovery.
  • Improve and increase education and outreach activities and ensure that those receiving tsunami warnings and the at-risk public know what to do when a tsunami is approaching. 
  • Provide technical and other assistance to speed international efforts to establish regional tsunami warning systems in vulnerable areas worldwide, including the Indian Ocean. 
  • Improve federal, state, and international coordination for detection, warnings, and outreach for tsunami and other coastal impacts.

These provisions do not fall under the authority of NOAA Fisheries and are not directly related to rebuilding or sustainably managing fish stocks. Because statutory deadlines were provided for several reports under this title, however, NOAA Fisheries tracked the implementation of these reports as part of the full and complete implementation of the MSRA. Reports issued under this title were completed by the National Weather Service. Details on this program and related reports are available through the National Weather Service.

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention

On May 22, 2009 (74 FR 23965), NOAA Fisheries proposed regulations to implement, in part, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act. This authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to promulgate regulations needed to carry out the obligations of the United States under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, including implementing the decisions of the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Comments were accepted through June 22, 2009.

On January 21, 2010 (75 FR 3335), NOAA Fisheries issued these regulations. The regulations included requirements related to permitting, vessel monitoring systems, vessel observers, vessel markings, reporting and recordkeeping, at-sea transshipment, and boarding and inspection on the high seas.

NOAA Fisheries determined that this action was necessary for the United States to satisfy its international obligations under the Convention, to which it is a Contracting Party. It had the effect of requiring that all relevant U.S. fishing vessels are operated in conformance with the provisions of the Convention. This rule was effective April 21, 2010. Read the final rule and correction notice. For more information on the implementation of this Convention, visit the Pacific Island Regional Office website.