Posted in Bottom Line

Are you reading terms like “overfishing” and “stock assessments,” but you’re not quite sure what they mean? These blog posts explain the basics of U.S. fishery management, from the current state of our nation’s fisheries to policies and strategies to ensure healthy, robust fish populations.

The Bottom Line: Rebuilding Plans Work for U.S. Fisheries

Status of US Fish Stocks 1997-2012

By Lee Crockett, The Pew Charitable Trusts. A congressional hearing this week on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act examined a new report from the National Academies on the law’s effectiveness in rebuilding depleted fish populations. As a member of the peer-review panel for the report, I can attest to the amount of work that went into this study, which clearly recognizes our nation’s overall success in restoring fish stocks. … More Info »

The Bottom Line: For New England’s Fishing Fleet It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

Twenty years later, the sense of déjà vu is unshakeable. A new season brings a troubling scenario of depleted fish populations and deficient management. Fourteen of the region’s 20 groundfish—or bottom dwelling—species are currently overexploited. Cod stocks are at the lowest levels ever recorded. New England’s best captains could not find enough cod in the past year to meet more than a third of their allotted quota on Georges Bank. It is, officially, an economic disaster, as the U.S. Department of Commerce declared last fall. In short, here we are, with our storied fishing grounds in even worse shape than they were two decades ago. … More Info »

The Bottom Line: Changing Course for America’s Oldest Fishery

Recent scientific studies estimate that cod populations are at or near record lows. But this serious problem has not stopped the New England Fishery Management Council from proposing to end protection of their waters off the New England coast, a move that will make it even harder for cod—a fish that helped build the region’s economy—to recover. … More Info »

The Bottom Line: A Better Way to Manage Fish

Some proposed fisheries rules would take us backward, with costly new delays and exemptions that could allow overfishing and reverse conservation gains. Other proposals offer an opportunity to improve the health of our oceans, by managing our fisheries as part of the larger ecosystem. This holistic approach — often called “ecosystem-based fisheries management” — looks beyond the health of individual species to also consider the food and habitat they rely upon. … More Info »

The Bottom Line: Don’t Remove Protection When Cod Need It Most

New England is famous for cod fishing. But the industry is ailing – and the cure being proposed might be worse than the disease. A proposal by regional fisheries managers to reopen areas where groundfish are currently protected is a big step in the wrong direction. … More Info »

The Bottom Line: Big Turnout for Little Menhaden

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has seen a lot in its 70-year history but nothing quite like this. More than 128,000 people flooded the commission’s inboxes with postcards and emails last month, a new record for public comment. Scientists, small business owners, nature lovers, and anglers sent letters and spoke out at public hearings. And it was all about a fish that almost no one ever eats—Atlantic menhaden. … More Info »

The Bottom Line: Historic Moment for Menhaden

By Lee Crockett of the Pew Environment Group. Menhaden numbers have plunged nearly 90 percent over the past 25 years, and the regulators responsible for their management will soon make a critical decision. In December, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) could finally help the depleted population recover by setting a coastwide, science- based annual catch limit. … More Info »

New Study Shows Overfishing Costs Southeast and Gulf Regions Millions Per Year

Black Sea Bass

By Lee Crockett of the Pew Environment Group. There’s an old saying that a penny saved is a penny earned. This sound financial advice is equally true for management of U.S. ocean fish resources. As I’ve said before, conserving our ocean fish populations is a prudent economic investment. The converse is also true: Overfishing is bad economic policy. … More Info »

A Small ‘Catch’ in Recent Fisheries Coverage

(By Lee Crockett of the Pew Environment Group) I want to follow up to make an important distinction between catch limits and catch shares, a difference that has been inadequately explained by NOAA and has resulted in some understandable confusion. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires properly set and enforced catch limits that prevent overfishing and ensure the rebuilding of depleted fish populations. … More Info »

Fishing for Giants

By Lee Crockett of the Pew Environment Group. The rod-and-reel fishermen who catch bluefin tuna deserve to have their stories told. “Wicked Tuna” has the opportunity to introduce TV audiences to this magnificent fish, the men and women who pursue them, and the types of fishing gear they use. National Geographic is working hard to present a balanced view, highlighting both the fishermen and conservation concerns. … More Info »