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The enactment of the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (FCMA) on March 1, 1977 marked the beginning of a new era for the fishing industry of the United States. This act, commonly referred to as the "200 mile limit", has the potential of bringing about important institutional changes in the fishing industry. The legislation was necessitated by increased fishing pressure from both United States and foreign vessels, and the apparent inadequacy of existing fishery management practices and controls. The FCMA provides a framework of regulations which has the scope and flexibility needed to make wise decisions regarding our fishery resources. But if the potential significance of this act is to be fulfilled, careful analysis of the effects and implications of its policies must be made.

It is the individual Maine fisherman who is presently feeling the initial direct impact of the FCMA and its regulations. The fishermen now have a greater expanse of ocean in which foreign vessels are restricted. They must limit their catches to prescribed quotas and follow regulations regarding closed seasons and closed areas, or risk fines. In order for many Maine fishermen to take advantage of the entire area of the 200 mile zone they may need to consider changing from the traditional small, family owned vessels to larger, more sophisticated vessels capable of negotiating the far offshore areas. Thus it is important to understand the perceptions and evaluations of Maine commercial fishermen regarding the FCMA, as they are present at the actual working level of this plan, and can see how the regulations and policies are carried out. The Maine fishermen should thus provide valuable insight in the application, impact, and effectiveness of the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976.

The main objective of the study reported here was to determine the perceptions, attitudes, and reactions of Maine commercial fishermen regarding extended jurisdiction and fishery management practices.

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Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station




Fisherman restrictions, Fisheries Conservation and Management Act of 1976 (FCMA), 200 mile limit


Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

B763: The Perceptions, Attitudes, and Reactions of Maine Commercial Fishermen Regarding Extended Jurisdiction and Fishery Management Practices