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What’s Happened to All the Striped Bass?

For the past six years I’ve fished for striped bass a few days each fall off Montauk, Long Island, with charter boat Capt. John McMurray, a fellow Coast Guard veteran who is a member of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, which sets fishing policies in federal waters from New York to North Carolina. In the past, McMurray and I caught so many big bass on light tackle—a lightweight rod, reel, and line—that we lost count and returned to the dock exhausted. But in the last couple of years, unfortunately, it’s gotten harder to spot the fish. And on our most recent trip, we could hardly find any. I caught only one. … More Info »

Giving Thanks for a Life-Changing Adventure–and More

In this Thanksgiving season, I’m giving a public thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard for the adventure that began my journey as an ocean steward…I’m also grateful for the good things that have happened in U.S. ocean conservation in 2014. … More Info »

Building on Success

In late fall of 2006, Congress came together to strengthen the primary law that governs our nation’s ocean fisheries—the Magnuson-Stevens Act, originally passed in 1976. A push from leaders on both sides of the aisle, combined with strong support from President George W. Bush, helped overcome political differences.Now the House Committee on Natural Resources has advanced a bill to reauthorize and amend the act. Unlike eight years ago, however, this measure lacks significant bipartisan support—and a number of its provisions would undermine key reforms that have proved instrumental in rebuilding depleted U.S. ocean fish populations. … More Info »

Protecting essential fish habitat: Homes and nurseries

On May 29, the House Natural Resources Committee met to refine legislation reauthorizing and amending the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary law that governs fishing in U.S. ocean waters. This is vital work: Our oceans are one of our nation’s most valuable natural resources. And congressional leaders should capitalize on this opportunity by adding stronger protections for essential habitat that fish populations need to spawn and grow in a healthy marine ecosystem. … More Info »

Reducing and Minimizing Bycatch

According to some estimates, as much as 40 percent of fish caught around the globe is discarded at sea, dead or dying. We can’t afford to continue this wasteful practice. Stopping the unnecessary squandering of nontarget fish in many U.S. fisheries and reducing the needless incidental killing of untold seabirds, whales, and other marine life by indiscriminate fishing gear is central to a new, national approach to ecosystem-based fisheries management. … More Info »

Forage Fish: The Oceans’ Little Heroes

Species such as herring, menhaden, and sardines—commonly known as forage fish—make up the menu for much of the wildlife in our ocean. These schooling fish eat tiny plants and animals near the ocean’s surface. In turn, they are eaten by a host of other animals—including larger fish, seabirds, and whales—making them a vital part of the marine food web. … More Info »

A Better Way to Protect Our Ocean Ecosystems

We can and must do better. It’s time that decision-makers and federal fisheries managers pursue broader policy solutions that will not only help restore individual species but also promote healthy and robust marine ecosystems—an approach known within scientific circles as ecosystem-based fisheries management. … More Info »

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: 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 »