Madeline Kass

Document Type



In one of its last acts of 2006, the 109th Congress passed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 (FCMRA), reauthorizing the nation's primary fishing law through the year 2013. The president signed on in early January 2007. Those involved in the reauthorization effort deserve kudos for achieving a successful bipartisan compromise, a relatively rare phenomenon in recent years. Congress also deserves praise for taking positive action towards improving existing law and for rejecting preliminary proposals designed principally to derail conservation efforts. Yet, in the face of unrelenting, catastrophic fish stock declines, it is unclear whether the FCMRA represents a meaningful forward step towards sustainable marine fisheries or merely incouraging but inconsequential tinkering.