Last October, when the National Marine Fisheries Service notified the North Pacific Management Council that Bering Sea snow crab was officially “overfished,” a timer started ticking.

The Council had exactly two years from that moment to implement a plan to rebuild the stock. This is a requirement of the Magnuson Stevens Act, or MSA, the federal law that governs all U.S. fisheries. And as a matter of practicality they need to have the plan ready even sooner. To be certain there is enough time to enact new regulations, the Council is expected to present its plan to the National Marine Fisheries Service 15 months after the declaration. So the time it has left to act is quickly ticking away.

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