Plenty of Fish in the Sea?

Part A: Fishing the Ocean

Many of the world's fisheries are becoming dangerously depleted of fish. With more than one billion people around the world relying on fish as their main source of protein, trouble in the sea means trouble on land as well.

1. Watch the following video for an introduction to Fishing in the Ocean. Take notes on things you learn.

Will The Ocean Ever Run Out of Fish? If the video does not play visit the TED Ed website.

Checking In

  • What are some of the current issues facing fish?
  • What are some things that lead to overfishing?

2. Watch this short video for an into to the basics of fishing management and sustainable catches. Take notes on new ideas or things you learn.

Into to Fisheries Management

Checking In

  • How does the concept of Tragedy of the Commons apply to fishing?
  • How can a group of fishers fish the same stock of fish without overfishing it?

Until the 1970s, New England cod fishermen, sailing out of harbors around Massachusetts and Maine, were competing with each other and large international fishing boats that sailed from countries like the U.K., Spain, and the U.S.S.R.. Similarly, on the west coast, Alaskan fishermen competed with Japanese and Canadian fishing vessels.

In 1976, Congress passed what became known as the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which was the first law establishing U.S. ownership and management over fishery resources within a set distance along the coastline. Overnight, the foreign vessels were forced farther away from the coasts, and U.S. fisheries councils were established, but then the councils had the daunting task of having to figure out how to manage fish, which, as you will learn in this module, has a lot of different variables to monitor and assess.

3. Watch the following film for a short introduction to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Journey to Sustainable Fisheries: 40 Years Under the MSA. If video does not play, visit NOAA's Vimeo page

4. Visit this page to read more about the Magnuson-Stevens Act and what it does.

Checking In

  • What are the key objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA)?
  • What are two fishery management outcomes established by the MSA?
  • What did the 1996 Sustainable Fisheries Act do?

Optional Extension

Fishermen Explain the MSA