Public Policy

The Magnuson-Stevens Act

Why a law that protects fish matters to birds
Least Terns. Photo: Kyle Matera/Audubon Photography Awards
Public Policy

The Magnuson-Stevens Act

Why a law that protects fish matters to birds

In 1976, Republicans and Democrats came together and created a solution to prevent the collapse of fish populations and the birds that depend on them by signing the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) into law. Key objectives outlined in the MSA are to prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, increase long-term economic and social benefits, and ensure a safe and sustainable supply of seafood.

The MSA is the primary law that governs management of ocean fish in U.S. federal waters and has served as the nation’s road map to sustainably managed fisheries.

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Birds in New England that rely on managed fish include:
  • Common and Least Tern - Atlantic Herring
  • Osprey - Atlantic Pollock
  • Razorbill - White Hake
Birds in New England that rely on unmanaged fish include:
  • Northern Gannet - Sandlance
  • Roseate Tern - White Hake

Congress is currently working to reauthorize this law, and while significant progress has been made since the MSA was enacted, there is still more work to be done.

Audubon Connecticut supports strengthening this law to protect the prey that birds and other wildlife depend on.

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