In 1976, the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act established the first federal system to govern fishing in the then newly-declared 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This management system was uniquely participatory, composed of representatives of states, recreational and commercial fishers, and the federal government.
Since the early 1990s, however, this participatory fisheries management system has been struggling. The federal fisheries management system is in crisis, and signs of the system’s distress are compelling.
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