CurrencyCurrent through P.L. 118-13 (published on on 08/07/2023)
Citation16 U.S.C. § 1802

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires-

(1) The term "anadromous species" means species of fish which spawn in fresh or estuarine waters of the United States and which migrate to ocean waters.

(2) The term "bycatch" means fish which are harvested in a fishery, but which are not sold or kept for personal use, and includes economic discards and regulatory discards. Such term does not include fish released alive under a recreational catch and release fishery management program.

(3) The term "charter fishing" means fishing from a vessel carrying a passenger for hire (as defined in section 2101(30) of title 46) who is engaged in recreational fishing.

(4) The term "commercial fishing" means fishing in which the fish harvested, either in whole or in part, are intended to enter commerce or enter commerce through sale, barter or trade.

(5) The term "conservation and management" refers to all of the rules, regulations, conditions, methods, and other measures (A) which are required to rebuild, restore, or maintain, and which are useful in rebuilding, restoring, or maintaining, any fishery resource and the marine environment; and (B) which are designed to assure that-

(i) a supply of food and other products may be taken, and that recreational benefits may be obtained, on a continuing basis;

(ii) irreversible or long-term adverse effects on fishery resources and the marine environment are avoided; and

(iii) there will be a multiplicity of options available with respect to future uses of these resources.

(6) The term "Continental Shelf" means the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas adjacent to the coast, but outside the area of the territorial sea, of the United States, to a depth of 200 meters or, beyond that limit, to where the depth of the superjacent waters admits of the exploitation of the natural resources of such areas.

(7) The term "Continental Shelf fishery resources" means the following:


Bamboo Coral-Acanella spp.;

Black Coral-Antipathes spp.;

Gold Coral-Callogorgia spp.;

Precious Red Coral-Corallium spp.;

Bamboo Coral-Keratoisis spp.; and

Gold Coral-Parazoanthus spp.


Tanner Crab-Chionoecetes tanneri;

Tanner Crab-Chionoecetes opilio;

Tanner Crab-Chionoecetes angulatus;

Tanner Crab-Chionoecetes bairdi;

King Crab-Paralithodes camtschatica;

King Crab-Paralithodes platypus;

King Crab-Paralithodes brevipes;

Lobster-Homarus americanus;

Dungeness Crab-Cancer magister;

California King Crab-Paralithodes californiensis;

California King Crab-Paralithodes rathbuni;

Golden King Crab-Lithodes aequispinus;

Northern Stone Crab-Lithodes maja;

Stone Crab-Menippe mercenaria; and

Deep-sea Red Crab-Chaceon quinquedens.


Red Abalone-Haliotis rufescens;

Pink Abalone-Haliotis corrugata;

Japanese Abalone-Haliotis kamtschatkana;

Queen Conch-Strombus gigas;

Surf Clam-Spisula solidissima; and

Ocean Quahog-Arctica islandica.


Glove Sponge-Spongia cheiris;

Sheepswool Sponge-Hippiospongia lachne;

Grass Sponge-Spongia graminea; and

Yellow Sponge-Spongia barbera.

If the Secretary determines, after consultation with the Secretary of State, that living organisms of any other sedentary species are, at the harvestable stage, either-

(A) immobile on or under the seabed, or

(B) unable to move except in constant physical contact with the seabed or subsoil,

of the Continental Shelf which appertains to the United States, and publishes notice of such determination in the Federal Register, such sedentary species shall be considered to be added to the foregoing list and included in such term for purposes of this chapter.

(8) The term "Council" means any Regional Fishery Management Council established under section 1852 of this title.

(9) The term "economic discards" means fish which are the target of a fishery, but which are not retained because they are of an undesirable size, sex, or quality, or for other economic reasons.

(10) The term "essential fish habitat" means those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding or growth to maturity.

(11) The term "exclusive economic zone" means the zone established by Proclamation Numbered 5030, dated March 10, 1983. For purposes of applying this chapter, the inner boundary of that zone is a line coterminous with the seaward boundary of each of the coastal States.

(12) The term "fish" means finfish, mollusks, crustaceans, and all other forms of marine animal and plant life other than marine mammals and birds.

(13) The term "fishery" means-

(A) one or more stocks of fish which can be treated as a unit for purposes of conservation and management and which are identified on the basis of geographical, scientific, technical, recreational, and economic characteristics; and

(B) any fishing for such stocks.

(14) The term "regional fishery association" means an association formed for the mutual benefit of members-

(A) to meet social and economic needs in a region or subregion; and

(B) comprised of persons engaging in the harvest or processing of fishery resources in that specific region or subregion or who otherwise own or operate businesses substantially dependent upon a fishery.

(15) The term "fishery resource" means any fishery, any stock of fish, any species of fish, and any habitat of fish.

(16) The term "fishing" means-

(A) the catching, taking, or harvesting of fish;

(B) the attempted catching, taking, or harvesting of fish;

(C) any other activity which can reasonably be expected to result in the catching, taking, or harvesting of fish; or

(D) any operations at sea in support of, or in preparation for, any activity described in subparagraphs (A) through (C).

Such term does not include any scientific research activity which is conducted by a scientific research vessel.

(17) The term "fishing community" means a community which is substantially dependent on or substantially engaged in the harvest or processing of fishery resources to meet social and economic needs, and includes fishing vessel owners, operators, and crew and United States fish processors that are based in such community.

(18) The term "fishing vessel" means any vessel, boat, ship, or other craft which is used for, equipped to be used for, or of a type which is normally used for-

(A) fishing; or

(B) aiding or assisting one or more vessels at sea in the performance of any activity relating to fishing, including, but not limited to, preparation, supply, storage, refrigeration, transportation, or processing.

(19) The term "foreign fishing" means fishing by a vessel other than a vessel of the United States.

(20) The term "high seas" means all waters beyond the territorial sea of the United States and beyond any foreign nation's territorial sea, to the extent that such sea is recognized by the United States.

(21) The term "highly migratory species" means tuna species, marlin (Tetrapturus spp. and Makaira spp.), oceanic sharks, sailfishes (Istiophorus spp.), and swordfish (Xiphias gladius).

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