In the1960s increasing numbers of foreign fishing vessels were catching the substantially unexploited living marine resources. The United States then claimed only a 3-mile jurisdiction on fishing.
U.S. fishermen disliked this "foreign encroachment" and alleged that overfishing was causing stress on, or outright depletion of, fish stocks.
So we put the Act into effect on April 13, 1976. Under the MSA, on March 1, 1977, marine fishery resources beyond state jurisdiction but within 200 miles of all U.S. coasts came under federal jurisdiction. (Soon to become the exclusive economic zone)
A new regional management system began allocating fishing privileges with priority given to domestic enterprise.
Prior to MSA