2012 Status of Stocks
PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION
SUSTAINABILITY IS A PROCESS, NOT AN END POINT
Recent Status of U.S. Fisheries Annual Report to Congress, as required under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, demonstrates the success of science-based management in U.S. fisheries. NOAA Fisheries and Regional Fishery Management Councils work collectively to attain decreases in overfishing and overfished, while increasing fish stocks. 446 stocks and stock complexes are currently managed within 46 federal fishery management plans nationwide. Although overfishing can be the main cause of depletion of these stock, other factors such as disease, habitat degradation and environmental changes; ie, climate, ocean acidification and land based pollution must also be taken into account as prevailing environmental and fishery conditions.
There have been sacrifices, and more are needed from the fishing and seafood industries, recreational anglers, fishing communities and the public . Timely collection of data, assessments of economic consequences of management actions and increased understanding of environmental factors, are required to continue the process of sustainably managing US fisheries. Stock assessments use the best information available, which may include data from fishery landings, scientific surveys, and biological and ecological studies, undergoing review by independent scientists before it is accepted by a Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee as the best scientific information available. This information is then used by the Council to recommend the annual catch limit for the stock.
To date, 10 stocks are no longer subject to overfishing, four stocks are no longer overfished, and six stocks have been rebuilt, this brings the total number rebuilt to 32 since 2000.