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National Standard 1 – Ongoing Revisions

National Standard 1 states that, “conservation and management measures shall prevent overfishing while achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield from each fishery for the U.S. fishing industry.”  The National Standard 1 guidelines assist regional fishery management councils (councils) and NOAA Fisheries in the development of fishery management plans by providing advice on how to interpret the National Standard 1 requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. NOAA Fisheries last updated the National Standard 1 guidelines in 2009 to help implement Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) and Accountability Measures (AMs). Since 2007, all Federal Fishery Management Plans have been amended to implement ACLs and AMs. During implementation of ACLs and AMs, stakeholders and managers identified a number of issues regarding the application of the guidelines.

As a result of this feedback, NOAA Fisheries published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on May 3, 2012, to request public comment on potential revisions to the National Standard 1 guidelines. This provided the public with a formal opportunity to comment on the specific ideas mentioned in the ANPR, as well as any additional ideas and solutions that could improve the National Standard 1 guidelines. The public comment period ended on October 12, 2012. NOAA Fisheries received 76 letters from councils, State Agencies, environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the fishing industry, restaurateurs, and the public. NOAA Fisheries also received comments from 46,155 individuals who participated in 3 environmental NGO letter/postcard writing campaigns.

A summary of the comments received is available for review. To view the original comments, please visit and enter “NOAA-NMFS-2012-0059” in the keyword search.

The comments received reflect the diversity of U.S. fisheries and the need for flexibility in the guidelines. NOAA Fisheries is currently reviewing the comments and considering various approaches to address some of the issues raised. Some issues could be addressed through revisions to the National Standard 1 guidelines, while others could be addressed through technical guidance or policy directives. Any revisions to the National Standard 1 guidelines will be made through a long-term rulemaking process. NOAA Fisheries is looking for additional opportunities to engage the councils and public before publishing a proposed rule.

In February 2013, NOAA Fisheries provided an update on the National Standard 1 guidelines process to the Council Coordination Committee, which is a committee consisting of the Chairs, Vice-Chairs, and Executive Directors of each of the eight councils. Issues related to National Standard 1 were also discussed at the Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries 3 conference held in May 2013 in Washington, D.C.

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