us President George W Bush signed a legislation in the second week of January, aiming to prevent over-fishing in the us waters and strengthening protection against further depletion of dwindling stocks.
The act overhauls the existing legislation known as the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act--a 30-year-old law that guides fishery management in waters between five km and 322 km offshore.
The measure strengthens the current law and requires commercial fisheries to end over-fishing within two years, beginning 2010. It also sets a 10-year permit system to allow 'limited access' in some waters that have been over-fished and penalties for illegal fishing in international waters.
Environmental groups have hailed a provision that sets overall limits on the number of fish that can be caught, while allowing fishermen flexibility in how they divide shares of the total catch.
For fishermen adversely affected by recent closures aimed at protecting threatened fish, there would be disaster relief programmes, notes the act. The us Congress had passed the bill in December 2006.
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