Today, the protection of environment is one of the primary concerns of the contemporary society and policy makers. In this regard, the extinction of certain species of fish is one of the major threats to biodiversity. Therefore, the prevention of the extinction of certain species of fish is essential and the legislative support and regulations contribute to the protection of species of fish at risk.
On analyzing the current policies and legal rules and regulations concerning the protection of species of fish that are at risk of extinction, it is worth mentioning the fact that today there is the government body that focuses on the protection of fish and wildlife at large – United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The USFWS is the agency within the Department of the Interior that enforces most federal wildlife laws.
The USFWS’ operations are grounded on legal acts that protect extinct species of fish. At this point, it is possible to refer to Lacey Act (1900, 1981). This is the first federal law regulating interstate and international commerce in wildlife. “Wildlife” here refers to any wild animal, bird, amphibian, reptile, mollusk, or crustacean, and their dead bodies, skins, eggs, or offspring. In 1981, the Black Bass Act was incorporated into the Lacey Act. The Lacey Act and the Black Bass Act have been amended numerous times, most recently in 2008, adding protection to plants and trees illegally harvested outside the United States (Vestergaard, Squires, Kirkley, 2003).
Also, it is worth mentioning the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Act. This act is commonly referred to as the Dingell-Johnson Act or Wallop-Breaux Act. It provides federal aid to the states for management and restoration of marine and freshwater sport fish. Funds from a 10 percent excise tax on certain items of sport fishing tackle are apportioned to states. These funds may be used for education, wetlands restoration, boat safety or boat pump out systems (Kirkley and Squires, 1999).
Another important legal act is Marine Mammal Protection Act (1971). This act states that certain species or populations of marine mammals (including manatees, dolphins, and whales) are, or may be, in danger of extinction, or depletion, as a result of human activities (Clover, 2004).
Finally, it is worth mentioning Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. This act encourages federal agencies to conserve and promote conservation of nongame fish and wildlife and their habitats to the maximum extent possible within each agency’s statutory responsibilities (Clover, 2004). This act is extremely important in terms of the preservation of extinct species of fish.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that, today, many species of fish are extinct and face the risk of the total extinct. In such a situation, existing legal norms and rules protect species of fish that are at threat of extinction.
Clover, Charles (2004) End of the Line: How overfishing is changing the world and what we eat. Ebury Press, London.
Gordon, H.S. (1954). “The Economic Theory of a Common-Property Resource: The Fishery”. Journal of Political Economy 62 (2): 124–42.
Kirkley, J.E. and Squires, D. (1999) Capacity and Capacity Utilization in Fishing Industries, Discussion paper 99-16, Department of Economics, University of California, San Diego.
Kurlansky, Mark. (1997). Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. New York: Walker.
Vestergaard, N.; Squires, D.; Kirkley, J.E. (2003). “Measuring Capacity and Capacity Utilization in Fisheries. The Case of the Danish Gillnet Fleet”. Fisheries Research 60 (2–3): 357–68.