“Clearly, federal managers have gotten the message that the days of crisis-based management, managing for a single species, and how to maximize catches are over.” -Ben Enticknapp of Oceana.
On Tuesday, the Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted the Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP), bringing fisheries in Federal waters off the West Coast more in line with those off the Southern Atlantic Seaboard, the Hawaiian Islands and Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, all of which have already adopted ecosystem plans. The Council has been considering the approach for three years, and they unanimously adopted it yesterday. Regular ecosystem-wide scientific reports will now become part of fisheries management for West Coast fishery, meaning catch quotas and fishing seasons will be based on more than just a species approach. The plan is non-binding, but serves as an important step forward when it comes to sustainable, science-based management of the fishery.
Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) are developed by Regional Fishery Management Councils like the Pacific Fishery Management Council and implemented by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). NMFS is the federal agency under the Department of Commerce responsible for the stewardship of the Nation’s living marine resources and their habitat. NMFS manages living marine resources within the Exclusive Economic Zone (three to 200 miles offshore). Eight regional fishery management councils were established in 1976 as a result of the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The Pacific Fishery management council has jurisdiction over the 317,690 square mile exclusive economic zone off the West Coast of the United States.
Read the Public Review Draft of the Pacific Coast Fishery Ecosystem Plan: H1a_ATT1_FEP_DRAFT_FEB13_ELECTRIC_APR2013BB