NOAA Report Shows Reduction in Overfishing of U.S. Stocks

The number of domestic fish stocks listed as overfished has reached an all-time low, with three species of West Coast rockfish rebuilt to sustainable levels, according to the 2017 Status of U.S. Fisheries report to Congress. The number of stocks on the overfishing list also remained near all-time lows, an encouraging indicator that the U.S. fishery management system is achieving its long-term sustainability goals.

Three West Coast stocks (Bocaccio, Darkblotched rockfish and Pacific ocean perch) were rebuilt to target levels in 2017, bringing the total number of rebuilt U.S. marine fish stocks to 44 since 2000.

The overfishing list at the end of 2017 included 30 stocks, and the overfished list included 35 stocks. Overall, 91 percent of U.S marine fish stocks are not subject to overfishing and 87 percent are not overfished.  A stock is on the overfishing list when the harvest rate – a direct result of fishing activities – is too high. A stock is on the overfished list when the population size of a stock is too low, whether because of fishing or other causes, such as environmental changes.

Six stocks were removed from the overfishing list: Sailfish – Western Atlantic; Blue king crab – Pribilof Islands; Puerto Rico Wrasses Complex; Coho salmon – Puget Sound: Hood Canal; Winter flounder – Georges Bank; Witch flounder – Northwestern Atlantic Coast.

Six stocks came off the overfished list: Yelloweye rockfish – Pacific Coast; Winter flounder – Georges Bank; Gray triggerfish – Gulf of Mexico; Red snapper – Gulf of Mexico; Pacific ocean perch – Pacific Coast; Bluefin tuna – Western Atlantic.

Read the full report: 2017 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries.

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