Tagged Lee Crockett

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 »

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 »

Wicked Tune-Up for Tuna Rules

Atlantic bluefin tuna

Fishermen who catch tuna with harpoons, hand gear, purse seine nets, and longlines gathered last Wednesday in Gloucester, MA, for a hearing on proposed changes to the way we manage the catch of the Atlantic bluefin tuna. Bluefin are highly prized for the sushi market and for recreational fishing. Strong, sleek, and muscular, these fish are astonishingly fast giants that can reach well over a thousand pounds. But their popularity has led to plummeting populations and has landed the bluefin on the red list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). … 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 »