Because of the economic importance of the industry, numerous disputes have developed over fishing rights. Increasingly concerns about overfishing, pollution, and declining fish catches have forced governments to pass measures designed to protect and conserve this resource. In the United States, domestic fisheries are generally governed by state regulations, except where the Constitution provides for national control as a result of the treaty-making power and the regulation of navigation, customs, and interstate commerce. State fishery legislation is generally designed to protect the fisheries by regulating the way fish are caught, imposing catch limits, closing some waters to commercial fishing, reducing the times when fishing is legal, and protecting certain species. National governments generally restrict fishing rights within territorial waters to citizens and may establish jurisdiction over portions of the open sea, but the right to take products from the high seas is a subject for international agreements.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.