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Floundering? Hardly. U.S. Fisheries Continue to Improve

14 May 2012 4:59 pm
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Pew Environment Group, Data by NOAA

The latest numbers on the status of fisheries in the United States, released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), show continued progress toward ending overfishing. Six stocks that were previously overfished have been declared rebuilt—having reached a healthy population size—the biggest improvement since NOAA began issuing the reports in 1997. That raises the total number of rebuilt stocks to 27. "This is evidence that we are moving in the right direction and that sacrifices that fishermen have made are paying off," says Lee Crockett of the Pew Environment Group.

All told, 86% of the 258 major stocks reviewed by NOAA are in good shape.

But more remains to be done. Forty-five stocks remain overfished (the population is below the target) and 36 others are still "subject to overfishing," or, in other words, being caught at too high a rate. Both of these metrics, however, improved slightly from the previous year.

In a teleconference, Galen Tromble of NOAA's Office of Sustainable Fisheries credited the gains to the annual catch limits required by federal law and the rebuilding plans implemented by regional fisheries councils.

The six stocks now ready for guilt-free eating are:

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