Ecology's Catch of the Day

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Science  10 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5374, pp. 192-193
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5374.192

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A massive federal effort to take into account the health of a fish's habitat--and not simply its population size--could lead to major changes in the way the United States manages its fishers. This move to give ecologists a greater voice in the management of commercial fish stocks comes courtesy of the 1996 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which mandates that by 11 October, eight fishery management councils around the country must have finished mapping out "essential fish habitat" for more than 600 species. But fisheries experts say that not enough is known by orders of magnitude about the habitat of even the best studied commercial species, the summer flounder.