The number of US fish stocks listed as overfished, or subject to overfishing, has dropped to an all-time low since NOAA Fisheries began monitoring began in 1997. Their report, released this week, highlights the United States’ continued progress towards sustainably managing fish stocks.
NOAA Fisheries maintain three lists: Overfishing, Overfished and Rebuilt. A fish stock is on the overfishing list when the annual catch rate is too high. It’s on the overfished list when the population size of a stock is too low, whether because of fishing or other causes. The Rebuilt list holds stocks that have previously been on one of the other lists but have now recovered.
“This report illustrates that the science-based management process under the Magnuson-Stevens Act is working to end overfishing and rebuild stocks,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “While we have made tremendous progress, we know there’s more work to be done — especially as we continue to document changes to our world’s oceans and ecosystems. We will continue to strive toward sustainable management of our nation’s fisheries in order to preserve our oceans for future generations.”
Twenty-six fish stocks, though, are still on both the Overfished and Overfishing lists. These include bluefin tuna, bigeye tuna, striped marlin, Atlantic cod, red snapper, white marlin, blue marlin, scalloped hammerhead, Atlantic halibut and Atlantic salmon.
Status of Stocks 2014. Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries by NOAA Fisheries