National Standard 1 – Ongoing Revisions
NOAA Fisheries has issued a proposed rule to revise the General section of the National Standard guidelines and the guidelines for National Standards 1, 3, and 7 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The National Standard guidelines assist the regional fishery management councils (councils) and NOAA Fisheries in developing fishery management plans.
The General section of the National Standard guidelines describes the purpose of the guidelines, the importance of identifying fishery management objectives, and defines terms that are used throughout the National Standard guidelines. The National Standard 1 guidelines provide guidance on preventing overfishing while achieving the optimum yield from each U.S. fishery. The National Standard 3 guidelines provide guidance on managing a stock as a unit throughout its range, and the National Standard 7 guidelines address minimizing costs and avoiding duplication in fisheries management. This proposed rule is primarily focused on revising the National Standard 1 guidelines. However, revisions to the National Standard 3 and 7 guidelines are also proposed to address the important issue of identifying stocks that require conservation and management. The proposed revisions do not establish new requirements or require councils to revise their current fishery management plans. They provide additional clarity and potential flexibility in meeting current Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act mandates.
The proposed revisions include:
- Increasing flexibility in setting timelines for rebuilding programs.
- Providing flexibility for better managing data-limited stocks.
- Clarifying guidance on which stocks require conservation and management.
- Enhancing current efforts by the councils to apply ecosystem approaches to management.
- Providing for more stable fisheries through guidance on multiyear overfishing determinations, phasing in results of new stock assessments, and the carryover of the unused portion of annual catch limits to subsequent years.
- Adding a definition for "depleted stocks" to recognize non-fishing-related impacts to fish stocks.
- Recommending the councils re-evaluate the objectives of fishery management plans, to ensure they reflect the changing needs of the fishery, including allocation of fishery resources.
The comment period for this proposed rule ended on June 30, 2015. Comments received on this proposed rule are available online. Over the coming months, NOAA Fisheries will evaluate these comments and determine the appropriate next steps of this rulemaking process.
Proposed Rule Materials
- Proposed rule.
- Regulatory Impact Review and Regulatory Flexibility Act Analysis.
- Frequently Asked Questions.
- Media Bulletin.
- Red-line document showing the proposed changes.
- List of publications cited in the proposed rule.
Public Meeting Presentations
NOAA Fisheries made presentations at a number of meetings around the country. View the full list.
NOAA Fisheries last revised the National Standard 1 guidelines in 2009 following passage of the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006. Based on experience gained during the development and implementation of annual catch limits and accountability measures to end and prevent overfishing, NOAA Fisheries believes the National Standard guidelines can be improved to enhance the utility of the guidelines for managers and the public. These proposed revisions address input received from councils, the commercial and recreational fishing industry, environmental organizations, and other stakeholders during an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in 2012.
The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking provided the public with a formal opportunity to comment on the specific ideas mentioned, as well as to propose any additional ideas and solutions that could improve the National Standard 1 guidelines. The public comment period lasted from May 3, 2012 to 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 letter/postcard writing campaigns. A summary of the comments received is available for review. To view the original comments, please visit www.regulations.gov and enter “NOAA-NMFS-2012-0059” in the keyword search.
In addition to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, issues related to the National Standard guidelines were discussed at other public forums including:
- Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries 3 conference held in May 2013 in Washington, D.C.
- National Research Council’s report on “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Fish Stock Rebuilding Plans in the United States”.
- Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee Recreational Fishing Group’s white paper on recreational fisheries perspectives.
- Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management’s report on “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries.”
- Council Coordination Committee meetings – February 2013 update
Additional Related Materials
Advance Notice of Proposed Rule (ANPR)
- National Standard 1 ANPR, May 2012
- Extension of public comment period for the National Standard 1 ANPR, July 2012
- Reopening of the public comment period for the National Standard 1 ANPR, September 2012
- Summary of comments received on the National Standard 1 ANPR, March 2013
- Current National Standard 1 guidelines
- Current National Standard 3 guidelines
- Current National Standard 7 guidelines
- Frequently asked questions related to ACLs and National Standard 1 (2009)