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Congress upgrades fisheries protection

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9:01am, January 10, 2007

On Dec. 9, 2006, Congress reauthorized the 30-year-old Magnuson-Stevens Act, a law that sets rules for fishing and ocean management. This is the law's first wholesale revision since 1996.

Much has happened since then. Fisheries throughout the world are in trouble (SN: 11/4/06, p. 291: Available to subscribers at Worthless Waters: By midcentury, seas' value may be drained), and some species not targeted for consumption are becoming unintended casualties of fishing fleets (SN: 7/26/03, p. 59: Catch Zero).

Among new features of the law, research would be directed at getting better data on those accidental catches, on the status of fishery populations, and on the impact of recreational fishing. Indeed, the law will establish a new national program to register recreational fishing in marine coastal waters and recreational fishing anywhere for salmon and other fish that spend part of their lives in both fresh and salt water.

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