One of the many lines of sugar kelp grown at Royal Ocean Kelp farm in Windy Bay. Photo by Bella Fertel for The Cordova Times

Comments are due by Sept. 12 on proposed updates to federal National Standards for commercial fisheries under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, specifically those standards addressing allocations, communities and bycatch. 

The National Standards are guidelines for regional fishery management councils on how to interpret and balance the 10 standards as they develop fishery management plans.  

The marine resource consulting firm Ocean Strategies said in a statement released on Tuesday that reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens legislation is long overdue and a gridlock in Congress is preventing stakeholders from offering critical, time sensitive input to federal fishery management through reauthorization of that legislation.   

However, updating agency guidelines is another established way that decision makers and stakeholders work together to periodically review and revise regulatory practice to account for modern challenges, they said. 

The statement noted that domestic harvesters are facing unprecedented rates of change, including species shifting, habitat loss and degradation, and unpredictable changes in biomass.  

Meanwhile fishery managers are also grappling with equity implications in fishery access and the importance of community-based fisheries, as laid out in the NOAA Fisheries Equity and Environmental Justice Strategy, they said. 


NOAA is considering this update on guidelines as one way to address some of these complex problems. 

Ocean Strategies is a marine resource consulting firm specializing in seafood, fisheries and marine resources, with veteran industry leaders, including Brett Veerhusan, Hannah Heimbuch and Jessica Hathaway, based in Alaska, Seattle and Maine, and with offices in Washington D.C.