Skip to Page Content
NOAA Fisheries
Office of Sustainable Fisheries
sharkship at aseaschool of fishboat with net
Highly Migratory Species
Domestic Fisheries
Regulatory Services
Magnuson-Stevens Act
Sustainable Fisheries Act
Social Impact Assessment
Fishery Management Councils
Seafood Inspection

Regulatory Services - Social Science

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) requires the development and implementation of conservation and management measures to prevent overfishing, rebuild depleted stocks, and promote the long-term health and sustainability of fisheries. As part of this mandate, the MSA, and related law, require the consideration of social and economic factors by Councils, fishery managers and the Secretary of Commerce. In particular, the MSA requires every management action to contain a fishery impact statement (FIS) which assesses, specifies, and describes likely effects of conservation and management measures on participants in the fishery or fisheries being managed, fishing communities, and participants in neighboring fisheries [MSA Section 303(a)(9)].

If a limited access system is considered as a management option, the Councils, fishery managers and the Secretary must consider present and historic participation in and dependence on the fishery, the economics of the fishery, and the cultural and social framework relevant to the fishery and any affected fishing communities [MSA Section 303(b)(6)]. Further, the MSA stipulates ten National Standards to which fishery conservation and management actions must conform. Six of these National Standards have social and economic implications and one, National Standard 8, requires analyses to determine the social and economic impacts of proposed conservation or management actions on fishing communities.

Current guidance for social impact assessment:

NMFS Council Operational Guidelines - Fishery Management Process
"Guidelines for Assessment of the Social Impact of Fishery Management Actions" Appendix 2(g) December 24, 2007

Policy Directives - NMFSI 01-111-02 Policy Directives NMFSI 01-111-02

Past guidance is also available.

NOAA logo Department of Commerce logo