Fishery Management Implications of the U.S. Territorial Sea Extension

by Jeffery A. Ballweber, Univ of Oregon, Eugene, United States,
Richard G. Hildreth, Univ of Oregon, Eugene, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


The Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (MFCMA) declares a national standard that '[t]o the extent practicable, an individual stock of fish shall be managed as a unit throughout its range, and interrelated stocks of fish shall be managed as a unit or in close coordination.' MFCMA subsection 301(a) (3). Stocks of fish may range through several ocean jurisdictional boundaries. For instance jurisdictional boundaries exist at state internal waters, state ocean waters, the territorial sea and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). A states' internal waters are inside the baseline delineating the territorial sea. MFCMA subsection 306(c) (4) (B). Currently, a states' ocean waters correspond to the old three nautical mile territorial sea. For fisheries management purposes, the U.S. EEZ extends 197 nautical miles from the seaward boundary of each coastal state at three nautical miles. MFCMA subsection 3(6). Otherwise the U.S. EEZ extends 188 nautical miles from the seaward edge of the twelve nautical mile U.S. territorial sea. The Presidential proclamation extending the territorial sea from three to twelve nautical miles creates a new zone nine nautical miles wide extending three to twelve nautical miles from the territorial sea's baseline. This creates an opportunity for a new era of federal/state and interstate coordination in managing the marine fishery resources. Despite the proclamation's claim to maintain the status quo regarding domestic laws, the proclamation could have significant domestic legal implications.

Subject Headings: Fish management | Domain boundary | Seas and oceans | Standards and codes | Economic factors | Ocean currents | Coastal environment | Aquatic habitats | United States

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