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H.R. 200, Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, July 11, 2018, the House will consider H.R. 200, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, under a structured rule. This bill was introduced on January 3, 2017 by Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by a vote of 23-17 on December 13, 2017.


H.R. 200 would amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which addresses U.S. fisheries management and would authorize the annual appropriation of $397 million through 2022 for those purposes. The bill also would require the Secretary of Commerce to request that the National Academy of Sciences study certain mixed-use fisheries.

This bill revises and reauthorizes through FY2022 the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). Revisions are made to: (1) requirements for fishery management plans for overfished fisheries; and (2) catch limit requirements, including by authorizing Regional Fishery Management Councils to consider changes in an ecosystem and the economic needs of the fishing communities when establishing the limits.

To distinguish between fish that are depleted due to fishing and those that are depleted for other reasons, the term "depleted" replaces the term "overfished" throughout the MSA. Fishery impact statements must analyze the impacts of proposed actions in fishery management plans on the quality of the human environment. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) must publish a plan for implementing the Cooperative Research and Management Program. The offshore jurisdiction of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama is extended from three miles to nine miles for the recreational management of red snapper.

The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission must conduct all fishery stock assessments used for management purposes by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council for the fisheries managed under the Council's Reef Fish Management Plan. Any commercial catch share allocation in a fishery in the Gulf of Mexico may only be traded by sale or lease within the same commercial fishing sector.

NOAA must develop a plan to conduct stock assessments for all fish for which a fishery management plan is in effect under this bill. Additionally, NOAA must develop guidelines that will incorporate data from private entities into fishery management plans.


The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act governs management and conservation of commercial and recreational fisheries in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ; between 3 nautical miles [nm] and 200 nm from shore). The MSA established eight Regional Fishery Management Councils, which develop fishery management plans and amendments. The Secretary of Commerce approves and implements those plans. [1]

The MSA was last reauthorized and extensively amended in 2006 (P.L. 109-479). Although the authorization of appropriations expired at the end of FY2013, the act's requirements remain in effect and Congress has continued to appropriate funds to administer the act. There were efforts to reauthorize the MSA in both chambers during the 113th and 114th Congresses. [2]


See a full list of amendments here.


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 200 would cost about $1.4 billion over the 2019-2023 period, assuming appropriation of the authorized and necessary amounts. Enacting the bill could increase revenues and direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, CBO estimates that any such changes would have a negligible net effect on the deficit.

Staff Contact

For questions or further information please contact Ryan Hofmann with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 2-6674.


[1] See CRS Report at 1.

[2] Id.

115th Congress