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Living Marine Resources


Protecting the U.S. EEZ and key areas of the high seas is an important mission for the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard enforces fisheries laws at sea, as tasked by the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA). Our fisheries priorities are, in order of importance:

1. Protecting the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone from foreign encroachment: The MSFCMA of 1976 extended U.S. fisheries management authority out to the full 200 miles authorized by international law. The U.S. EEZ is the largest in the world, containing 3.4 million square miles of ocean and 90,000 miles of coastline. Foreign fishers operating illegally in this area are, effectively, stealing resources from the U.S., and our fisheries managers have no way of measuring or accounting for this loss.

2. Enforcing domestic fisheries law: U.S. Domestic Fisheries support a $24 billion dollar industry. Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs), to ensure the sustainability of these fisheries are developed by regional Fisheries Management Councils, each of which have a non-voting Coast Guard member. The Coast Guard is responsible for enforcing these FMPs at sea, in conjunction with NOAA Fisheries enforcement ashore. In addition to FMP enforcement, we enforce laws to protect marine mammals and endangered species.

3. International fisheries agreements: Realizing that fish do not recognize national boundaries, the Coast Guard works closely with the Department of State to develop and enforce international fisheries agreements. Most notably, the Coast Guard enforces the United Nations High Seas Driftnet Moratorium in the North Pacific, where illegal drift netters may catch U.S. origin salmon.

Ocean Guardian Strategic Plan

Marine Protected Species

The nation’s waterways and their ecosystems are vital to the country’s economy and health.  If the United States is to enjoy a rich, diverse and sustainable ocean environment, then the Coast Guard must assist in halting the degradation of our ocean’s natural resources associated with maritime activities.  This includes ensuring the country’s marine protected species are provided the protection necessary to help their populations recover to healthy, sustainable levels.  Providing adequate protection will require the United States to enact and enforce a wide range of regulations to govern marine resource management and use.  

U.S. protected species management responsibilities and authority are described in the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act, and other legislation, Executive Orders and international conventions.  This legislation tasks the Department of Commerce and the Department of the Interior with management of the nation's protected species.  The Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior and the Department in which the Coast Guard is operating are tasked with enforcement responsibility under the various acts and legislation.  The goal under the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Strategic Plan is to ensure the sustainability of fish and wildlife populations by focusing on imperiled species and marine mammal management.  The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) goal is to recover protected species through take reduction and reduction of marine mammal conflicts with human activities.  

Coast Guard marine protected species program efforts must be closely aligned with the NMFS and the FWS management goals.  The goal of the Coast Guard's marine protected species program is to assist the NMFS and the FWS in the development and enforcement of those regulations necessary to help recover and maintain the country’s marine protected species and their marine ecosystems.  Further, as a leader in living marine resource stewardship, the Coast Guard must be a model of compliance and awareness in its internal actions.  Coast Guard objectives include assisting in preventing the decline of marine protected species populations, promoting the recovery of marine protected species and their habitats, partnering with other agencies and organizations to enhance stewardship of marine ecosystems and ensuring internal compliance with appropriate legislation, regulations and management practices.

 While the Coast Guard shares enforcement responsibility with the NMFS and the FWS, their agents primarily focus on investigations ashore.  The Coast Guard is the foremost agency with the maritime infrastructure, capability and authority to project a federal law enforcement presence into the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and upon the high seas.  The Coast Guard's strategic plan for marine protected species is called OCEAN STEWARD (updated 2014).

USCG Atlantic Protected Living Marine Resources Initiative (APLMRI)

The APLMRI is provided below in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format.  Due to the size of the various https, it is highly recommended that you right-click and save these https to your computer before opening.

Title Page
Record of Decision
Executive Summary
Table of Contents 
Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 2 - Purpose and Need for Proposed Action
Chapter 3 - Alternative Actions
Chapter 4 - Affected Environment
Chapter 5 - Environmental Consequences
Chapter 6 - References
Chapter 7 - List of Preparers
Chapter 8 - EIS Distribution List
Chapter 9 - Acronyms
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C 
Appendix D, Part I
Appendix D, Part II
Appendix E
Appendix F
Appendix G
Appendix H
Appendix I 
Cover Page, Volume III
Appendix J
Appendix K
Appendix L
Appendix M
Appendix N
Appendix O 
Appendix P
Appendix Q
Appendix R
Appendix S
Appendix T
Appendix U
Appendix V
Appendix W
Appendix X

                                                      Graduate Student Information

LMR and MA Advanced Education  LMR Enforcement Community Links    Reports and references

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Last Modified 1/12/2016