1976The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Public Law 94-265) was passed, which regulated fishing to protect overfished species.Economy and Industry, Maritime & Fishing Industry

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Fisheries, NOAA. “| NOAA Fisheries.” https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/topic/laws-policies/magnuson-stevens-act.

In 1976, Congress extended the nation’s exclusive economic zone from 12 to 200 nautical miles from the coastline in order to protect U.S. fishermen from foreign fish factories and to prevent overfishing. The extended limit was based on proposals made by a United Nations conference and while securing the right to regulate fishing in the new area, it did not create absolute sovereignty over this expanded territorial limit. The Act created, among other initiatives, the Northeast Fishery Management Council with broad powers to regulate harvesting practices in order to prevent the depletion of fish stocks. Known initially as the Fishery Conservation and Management Act, it was among a half dozen environmental initiatives from that era beginning with the 1970 National Environmental Protection Act and other laws that protected marine mammals and other endangered species.

During the Act’s 1980 amendment process, its name was changed to honor its prime advocates, Sen. Warren Magnuson (D-Washington) and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). The Act has been the source of the long-running conflict between environmentalists and fishing industry interests that regularly contest decisions by the regional fishery management councils to restrict fish catches by region, species, or season.

Fisheries, NOAA. “| NOAA Fisheries.” https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/topic/laws-policies/magnuson-stevens-act.
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