In 2006, Ocean Champions played a significant role in reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (M-S Act). The M-S Act is the primary federal statute governing management of our Nation’s fisheries. It seeks to end overfishing, rebuild depleted fish populations and ensure sustainable fisheries management.
It can be argued that traditional fisheries management (limiting days at sea) has failed to achieve conservation objectives or to help fishermen. Rather than continue the mistakes of the past, we believe alternatives should be considered. While very innovative, catch shares are not a new idea. In fact, they have been implemented in hundreds of fisheries around the world both large and small.
Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing
3/4 of the world’s fisheries are being harvested faster than they can reproduce. Much of the focus on combating overfishing has been on improving regulatory frameworks, promoting market-based tools such as catch shares, and raising public awareness of sustainable seafood. While these measures have initiated the process toward more sustainable fishing, the hard fought conservation gains are threatened every day by illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing worldwide.
Shark "finning" is the practice of removing the fins of a shark while at sea and discarding the rest of the body. Not only is this practice cruel and wasteful, it allows vessels to bring in unsustainably high numbers of sharks. It is estimated that fins from between 26 to 73 million sharks enter the global trade each year according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The incessant demand and value of shark fins in Asian markets for the highly prized “shark fin soup” is the economic driver of this international practice.