Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (ACFCMA)

Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (ACFCMA)

The Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Act) was signed into law in December 1993. It presents a new and innovative approach to coordinated management of coastal migratory fisheries along the U.S. Atlantic coast. The cooperative management process the law establishes involves the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission), the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Act builds upon the success achieved by the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act, which was instrumental in the recovery of Atlantic coastal striped bass stocks.The Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Act provides a mechanism to ensure Atlantic coastal state compliance with mandated conservation measures in Commission-approved fishery management plans.

Prior to the passage of this Act, state implementation of a Commission fishery management plan was voluntary, with the exception of the Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Striped Bass. Today, all Atlantic coast states that are included in a Commission fishery management plan must comply with certain conservation provisions of the plan or the Secretary of Commerce may impose a moratorium in that state's waters for harvesting the species in question.


The Commission was formed by the fifteen Atlantic coast states more than fifty years ago to assist in managing and conserving their shared coastal fishery resources. With the recognition that fish do not adhere to political boundaries, the states formed an Interstate Compact, which was approved by the U.S. Congress and signed by the President in 1942. The states have found that their mutual interest in sustaining healthy coastal fishery resources is best achieved by working together cooperatively, in collaboration with the federal government. Through this approach, the states uphold their collective fisheries management responsibilities in a cost-effective, timely and responsive fashion.

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(727) 551-5731


Fisheries Grants Program Officer
Kelly B. Donnelly