The 2006 reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act created new responsibilities and authorities for nation’s regional fishery management councils and their advisory bodies.
Five-Year Research Priorities
Section 302 (h) of the MSA states that each Council shall develop, in conjunction with its scientific and statistical committee, multi-year research priorities for fisheries, fishery interactions, habitats and other areas of research that are necessary for management purposes that shall a) establish priorities for five-year periods; b) be updated as necessary; and c) be submitted to the Secretary and the regional science centers of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for their consideration in developing research priorities and budgets for the region of the Council.
Section 318 (a) of the MSA says that the “Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Councils, shall establish a cooperative research and management program to address needs identified under MSA and under any other marine resource laws enforced by the Secretary.” Section 318 (a) also stated that “the program shall be implemented on a regional basis and shall be developed and conducted through partnerships among Federal, State, and Tribal managers and scientists (including interstate fishery commissions), fishing industry participants (including use of commercial charter or recreational vessels for gathering data), and educational institutions.” Consistent with this provision, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, the NMFS) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office have established a Cooperative Research and Management Program. This program is a collaborative effort to coordinate the implementation of Cooperative Research in the Pacific Island region.