“The Muddy Waters of US Ocean Protection”

“The century began with a great deal of optimism around marine protected areas as tools to protect the oceans. Two decades later, conservation goals and fishing interests remain at odds.”

“More than half of the United States is underwater: a sunken landscape of canyons, volcanic ranges, coral reefs, and kelp forests.

That's been true since 1983, when then-President Reagan proclaimed national sovereignty over the ocean within 200 miles of the coastline, and banned foreign fishing fleets from fishing them.

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which provides guidelines for the management of U.S. fisheries by eight regional councils, aims to protect species from overfishing so the U.S. can derive the maximum economic benefit from them year to year. That mandate doesn't always fit with conservation goals, which are pursued through a matrix of federal agencies and programs that work with, and sometimes parallel to, the Magnuson-Stevens Act.”

Lucy Marita Jakub reports for Environmental Health News August 17, 2020.