Various environmental laws are developed from time to time to ensure sustainable future. In most cases, such laws are developed when there are issues that threaten the environment. Environmental laws identify an activity that can cause harm, put some conditions on the activity, and lastly prevent any type of an activity that may not conform to the already identified standards. Since there are many environmental laws, this paper shall focus on Sustainable Fisheries Act which was established in the year 1996 (Wright & Boorse, 2010).

More specifically, the paper shall discuss the background information that led to the establishment of the law as well as the observable impacts of the same. In addition, the paper shall access the economic impacts of the same law. Sustainable Fisheries Act was established with a main aim of preserving the population of the fish species since there was already a threat of extinction due to extensive fishing which would have resulted to great harm among the communities that depend on fish. The law which was an amendment to the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act was established due to the increased fishing activities which were evident not only in United States but also in countries such as Japan, Spain, and Russia. Therefore, the act was established due the exploitation of certain species of fish by human beings for commercial purposes; a condition which was threatening their existence. As highlighted in the introductory part, every law contains some basic elements. For instance, Sustainable Fisheries Act has got some provisions. The Fishery Management Plan is allowed to curtail the sale of certain species of fish.

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There are also some prohibitions mostly involving damage to particular fish species. Lastly, the law also has got provision for finances in case of a disaster to help and save some species and prevent further loss (Wright & Boorse, 2010). As much as there may be critics of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, reports from various studies reveal that there has been significant change ever since the law was established. As studies of National Marine Fisheries Service (2003) indicate, over fishing has not only reduced, but the same has resulted in significant rebuilding of fish stocks which were already destroyed by over fishing.

The same study indicates that from the year 1997 to the year 2002, over fishing has been significantly eliminated. Although over fishing is reported to have stopped and then resumed in three major stocks like the Atlantic, in general terms, the law has had many positive impacts. Therefore, despite some shortcomings, the law has improved the environmental situations since more fish are being persevered and the initial threat on some species has subsided. Even though the law has resulted in some positive impacts like reducing over fishing, fishing industries have been affected by the same. Prohibiting or monitoring fishing activities in some areas affects the fishing industry since it contributes positively to the economy. Nevertheless, reducing over fishing eventually leads to increase of more fish in future.

Therefore, even if some negative impacts may be observed, the law is cost effective. In addition, although some measures undertaken in the implementation of the law require a lot of financial input; the cost is incomparable with the overall benefits. Therefore, taking into consideration the long term objective of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, the measure is cost effective.

However, that does not negate the fact that there are still some observable shortcomings of the same.


National Marine Fisheries Service. (2003). Implementing the Sustainable Fisheries Act.

Retrieved January 4, 2011, from Wright, R.

T. & Boorse, D. (2010). Environmental Science: Toward a Sustainable Future. Ottawa: Pearson Education Canada.


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