The Fishery Conservation and Management Act's Impact on Selected Fisheries

CED-79-57: Published: Apr 3, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 5, 1979.

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Certain problems, such as limited biological and socioeconomic data upon which to base fishery management plans, jurisdictional conflicts, and limited public acceptance, have hindered the effectiveness of the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976.

Foreign shrimping in the U.S. Gulf waters was negligible before the act, and there have been no foreign vessels shrimping in U.S. Gulf waters since the act was implemented. The only significant displacement of U.S. shrimp fishermen is off the coast of Mexico, which implemented its 200 mile conservation zone before the United States did. Foreign fishermen have only been granted permits to harvest underutilized groundfish species which U.S. fishermen will not harvest. The New England groundfish fishery management plan sets quotas on the amount of cod, haddock, yellowtail flounder domestic fishermen can harvest. The plan's economic effect has been minimal, however, because when the quotas are reached they are increased. In all, the annual quotas have been revised six times since March 1977, negating the conservation measures of the plan. Both employment and investment in the New England groundfish industry have increased. Two issues are involved in the U.S./Canadian negotiations, a boundary dispute and fishery management policies. King crab resources are fully utilized and little potential exists for expanding the king crab industry. Tanner crab offers good potential for future development and expansion, but the dungeness crab fishery is a relatively insignificant commercial fishery. The low availability of dungeness crab the attractiveness of more valuable fisheries inhibit any significant dungeness crab fishery expansion.

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