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S. 39 (104th): Sustainable Fisheries Act

The Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 is an amendment to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, a law governing the management of marine fisheries in the United States. Another major amendment to this legislation was later made under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006. The SFA was enacted to amend the outdated MSFCMA of 1976. The amendment included changes to the purpose of the act, definitions, and international affairs, as well as many small changes.

The U.S. Senate bill S. 39 was passed by the 104th United States Congressional session and enacted into law by the 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton on October 11, 1996.

This summary is from Wikipedia.

Last updated Feb 3, 2017. Source: Wikipedia

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.


9/19/1996--Passed Senate amended. Title I: Conservation and Management Title II: Fishery Monitoring and Research Title III: Fisheries Financing Title IV: Marine Fishery Statute Reauthorizations Sustainable Fisheries Act - Title I: Conservation and Management - Amends the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson Act) to modify the Act's purposes and declarations of congressional policies. (Sec. 103) Authorizes appropriations to carry out the Act. (Sec. 105) Modifies foreign fishing prohibitions and requirements. Provides for an international agreement on bycatch reduction standards and measures. Modifies requirements regarding congressional review of international fishery agreements. Authorizes the issuance of transshipment permits. Authorizes Pacific Insular Area (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Island, Wake Island, or Palmyra Atoll) Fishery Agreements to authorize foreign fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone adjacent to an Area. Regulates permit fee use. Establishes the Western Pacific Sustainable Fisheries Fund to receive payments under Area agreements. Mandates issuance of permits to up to 14 Canadian transport vessels, not equipped for fish harvesting or processing, for the transshipment, in or near the State of Maine, of Atlantic herring harvested by United States fishermen and used solely in sardine processing. Modifies the mandated content of a report on large-scale driftnet fishing. Mandates a report to specified congressional committees regarding fishery harvests in the Bering Sea. (Sec. 106) Requires national fishery conservation and management standards to: (1) provide for the sustained participation of fishing communities and minimize adverse economic impacts on those communities; (2) minimize bycatch and its mortality; and (3) promote the safety of human life at sea. (Sec. 107) Modifies Fishery Management Council requirements regarding composition, operations, jurisdiction, disclosure of financial interest, and other matters. (Sec. 108) Modifies fishery management plan required and discretionary contents. Prohibits, until October 1, 2000, individual fishing quota programs unless approved before January 4, 1995. Modifies and creates other quota-related requirements. Repeals provisions of the Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 prohibiting use of funds under such Act to develop or implement new fishery management plans, amendments, or regulations that create new individual fishing quota, individual transferable quota, or new individual transferable effort allocation programs until offsetting fees to pay for the administration of such plans, amendments, or regulations are expressly authorized under the Magnuson Act. Requires the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to recommend a program that uses the full amount of fees authorized to be used under specified provisions in the halibut and sablefish fisheries off Alaska to guarantee obligations. Requires the National Academy of Sciences to report on the performance and effectiveness of the community development quota programs under the authority of the North Pacific and Western Pacific Councils. (Sec. 109) Amends the Magnuson Act to revise requirements regarding the review and taking effect of fishery management plans, amendments, and regulations. Requires the Secretary of Commerce to collect fees relating to any individual fishing quota program or community development quota program. Prohibits, until January 1, 2000, the collection of fees in the surf clam and ocean quahog fishery or in the wreckfish fishery. Replaces provisions mandating fisheries research with provisions requiring an annual report and other actions relating to overfishing. Removes provisions relating to fisheries under the jurisdiction of more than one Council. Replaces provisions relating to incidental harvest research with provisions mandating the preparation of a management plan or amendment regarding certain highly migratory species fisheries. Directs the Secretary to establish an advisory panel, conduct surveys and workshops, and take other actions regarding pelagic longline fishing vessels that participate in fisheries for Atlantic highly migratory species. Authorizes the Secretary to implement a related comprehensive management system. Authorizes the repeal or revocation of a fishery management plan under the authority of a Council only if the Council approves the repeal or revocation by a three-quarters majority. Declares that the Magnuson Act shall not apply to the American Lobster Fishery Management Plan. (Sec. 110) Requires publication of a list of all fisheries under each Council and all gear used in such fishing. Requires anyone using gear or engaging in a fishery not on the list to give advance notice to the appropriate Council. Allows related emergency prohibitions on gear or fishing. Mandates guidelines regarding fish habitat conservation and enhancement. Modifies requirements regarding emergency actions (including concerning oil spills) and adds to the emergency action provisions references to interim measures needed to reduce overfishing. Modifies provisions regarding the effect of certain laws on specified time requirements. Authorizes establishment of a fishery negotiation panel to assist in the development of specific conservation and management measures for a fishery. Mandates establishment of an exclusive central registry system for any limited access system permits established, to provide for the registration of titles and interests. Authorizes the collection of fees and establishes the Limited Access System Administration Fund. (Sec. 111) Mandates establishment of a western Alaska community development quota program under which a percentage of the total allowable catch of any Bering Sea fishery is allocated to the program. Requires a phase-in of an increase in such quotas approved in 1995 by the North Pacific Council for the Bearing Sea crab fisheries. Allows establishment of a western Pacific community development program. Authorizes direct grants to eligible western Pacific communities, as recommended by the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, to establish from three to five fishery demonstration projects to promote traditional indigenous fishing practices. Requires establishment of a related advisory panel. (Sec. 112) Modifies provisions concerning: (1) State jurisdiction; (2) prohibited acts; (3) civil penalties and permit sanctions; (4) rebuttable presumptions; and (5) enforcement. (Sec. 116) Authorizes expenditures for fishery resource disasters (resulting from natural causes, man-made causes beyond the control of fishery managers, or undetermined causes). Authorizes appropriations. Authorizes a fishing capacity reduction program if certain requirements are met. Makes participation voluntary. Provides for funding, including authorizing an industry fee system if approved by an industry referendum. Mandates establishment of a task force to study and report on the Federal role in subsidizing the expansion and contraction of fishing capacity and otherwise influencing aggregate capital investments in fisheries. Amends Federal law to allow amounts derived from fishery product customs duties to be used to fund the Federal share of the capacity reduction program. (Sec. 117) Amends the Magnuson Act to require the North Pacific Council to submit conservation and management measures to lower economic discards. Allows: (1) a system of fines to provide incentives to reduce bycatch and bycatch rates; and (2) measures that provide allocations of regulatory discards to individual vessels as an incentive to reduce bycatch. Requires the Council to: (1) submit conservation and management measures to ensure total catch measurement; and (2) report on the advisability of requiring the full retention by fishing vessels and full use by U.S. fish processors of economic discards if the economic discards (or the mortality of the discards) cannot be avoided. Title II: Fishery Monitoring and Research - Directs the Secretary to develop recommendations for a regional standardized fishing vessel registration and information management system. Requires a report to the Congress on the need to include recreational fishing vessels in such a system. (Sec. 203) Provides for an information collection program specific to the needs of a fishery. Authorizes a grant, contract, or other financial assistance on a sole-source basis to a State, Council, or Marine Fisheries Commission to carry out the collection or other programs in certain circumstances. Allows the use of private sector vessels, equipment, and services to survey U.S. fishery resources when the arrangement will yield statistically reliable results. (Sec. 204) Sets forth provisions regarding observers, including concerning regulations, training, and workers' compensation. (Sec. 205) Requires: (1) a comprehensive program of fishery research to carry out this Act; (2) a program to develop technological and other changes to minimize shrimp trawl bycatch, evaluate related ecological impacts, benefits, and costs, and assess the use of unavoidable bycatch; (3) the Secretary to report to specified congressional committees on incidental harvest by the shrimp trawl fishery; and (4) establishment of a fishery conservation and management ecosystem advisory panel. Mandates an independent peer review regarding the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery. Prohibits the Gulf Council, until October 1, 2000, from preparing any plan, amendment, or regulation that creates an individual quota program or authorizes consolidation of licenses, permits, or endorsements that result in different trip limits for vessels in the same class. Allows such actions after that date only if approved in a referendum. Requires any Gulf Council plan, amendment, or regulation submitted after enactment of this Act to: (1) contain separate quotas for recreational and commercial fishing; and (2) ensure that the quotas reflect allocations among such sectors and do not reflect harvests in excess of such allocations. Requires: (1) a study of the contribution of bycatch to charitable organizations; (2) a study to determine the best method of identifying various Atlantic and Pacific salmon and steelhead stocks in the ocean at the time of harvest; and (3) a peer review, conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, of scientific information used for conservation and management in the Northeast multispecies fishery. Title III: Fisheries Financing - Fisheries Financing Act - Amends the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 to authorize guarantees for the purchase of individual fishing quotas. Requires that guarantees of obligations, under Federal ship mortgage insurance provisions relating to fishing vessels or fishery facilities, be limited to not more than (currently, be equal to) 80 percent of the cost of the vessel or facility. Prohibits new loan guarantees until October 1, 2001, for new fishing vessel construction if the construction will result in an increased harvesting capacity in the U.S. exclusive economic zone. (Sec. 303) Authorizes guarantees for obligations issued in connection with a fishing capacity reduction program established under specified provisions. Establishes the fishing capacity reduction fund. Requires that obligations under specified provisions issued after the enactment of this Act be direct loan obligations. Title IV: Marine Fishery Statute Reauthorizations - Authorizes appropriations to enable the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to carry out, under the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 and any other Act involving those activities: (1) fisheries information and analysis activities; (2) fisheries conservation and management operations; and (3) State and industry cooperative programs. Amends the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries Program Authorization Act to authorize appropriations for the operation of the Chesapeake Bay Estuarine Resources Office. Authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to provide up to $2 million to Caritas Christi for the implementation of a health care plan for fishermen in New England if certain requirements are met. (Sec. 402) Amends the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act of 1986 to authorize appropriations to carry out the Act and to support the efforts of specified interstate commissions to develop interstate fishery management plans for interjurisdictional fishery resources. Mandates an annual report on the New England fishing capacity reduction initiative. (Sec. 403) Amends the Anadromous Fish Conservation Act to authorize appropriations to carry out the Act. (Sec. 404) Amends the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act to authorize the implementation of regulations governing fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone that are compatible with (currently, that are necessary to support) the effective implementation of a coastal fishery management plan. Allows, notwithstanding certain other laws or fishery management plans and with the approval of the State of Maine, a person holding a commercial American lobster fishing license to engage in commercial American lobster fishing in specified Federal waters. Mandates, in certain circumstances, interim regulations regarding the taking of lobsters in the exclusive economic zone by a method other than pots or traps. Authorizes appropriations to carry out the Act. Amends the Fisheries Act of 1995 to extend the deadline for implementation of recommendations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.