In a rare bipartisan move — the policy was initiated under George W. Bush and finalized under Obama — the federal government has enacted catch size limits in order to prevent overfishing of coastal seas, reports the Washington Post.
"It's something that’s arguably first in the world," said Eric Schwaab, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's assistant administrator for fisheries. "It's a huge accomplishment for the country."
Five years ago, Bush signed a reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which dates to the mid-1970s and governs all fishing in U.S. waters. A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers joined environmental groups, some fishing interests and scientists to insert language in the law requiring each fishery to have annual catch limits in place by the end of 2011 to end overfishing.
Up to this point, the nation's regional fish management councils ignored scientists and the other pencil-necks who said the limits they set were unsustainable and would lead to crashing populations, as well as crashing revenue for the fishermen who rely on them. But the regional councils signed off on these laws, so they seem to have finally become convinced that having fish in the future is worthwhile, even if it means you get fewer fish right now — a lesson the rest of us learned when we were 7 and ate all our Halloween candy at 10 p.m. on Oct. 31.
A lot of Congresspeople never learned it, though, because they always get all the candy they want via either bribing people for it or holding their breath until they get more. So naturally some of them are already fighting to undo these landmark laws.
U.S. tightens fishing policy, setting 2012 catch limits for all managed species, Washington Post.