10 fish stocks added to NOAA's overfishing list in US

Published on
April 21, 2016

Three stocks of Chinook salmon, one of Coho salmon and two flounder stocks have been added to the overfishing list produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the organization that regulates U.S. fishing reported in its 2015 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries.

Still, the number of fish stocks in U.S. waters subject to overfishing is near an all-time low, according to Alan Risenhoover, director of NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Sustainable Fisheries.

“The partnerships forged over past 40 years under the Magnuson-Stevens Act have resulted in the number of overfished stocks remaining near all-time lows and additional stocks are rebuilding,” Risenhoover said. “Through its stakeholder-driven process, the U.S. will continue to be a global leader in managing its stocks sustainably.”

NOAA tracks 473 stocks and stock complexes in 46 fishery management plans. In total, 28 stocks, or nine percent of all stocks monitored by NOAA, are on its overfishing list, and 38, or 16 percent, are on its overfished list (some stocks appear on both lists). Chinook salmon in the Columbia River Basin (Upper River summer season) as well as along the Washington coast in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor (fall season) were added to the overfishing list, as was Washington coast coho salmon, Atlantic bigeye tuna, Eastern Pacific swordfish, and summer, winter and yellowtail flounder found in the waters of New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Georges Bank.

The stocks added to the overfishing and overfished lists will now have additional management measures implemented by NOAA that will seek to end their overfishing and rebuild the populations.

Eight stocks and complexes were removed from the overfished list: the Eastern Gulf of Mexico hogfish, the Putero Rico scups and porgies complex, the Gulf of Maine thorny skate, the Georges Bank/Southern New England winter skate and windowpane, and the greater amberjack and gray triggerfish in the Gulf of Mexico.

Two stocks are now classified as rebuilt: the Pacific Coast canary rockfish, which moved onto the overfished list in 2007, and the Pacific Coast petrale sole, which was declared overfished in 2009. In addition, 44 stocks are currently under rebuilding plans.

NOAA’s annual status report has been produced since 1997 and highlights the United States’ continued progress toward sustainably managing fish stocks. NOAA works in coordination with regional fishery management councils, the fishing industry and other partners to assess, classify, manage and, if necessary, rehabilitate stocks.

“The Status of U.S. Fisheries 2015 illustrates just how well U.S. science-based fisheries management can work,” said National Fisheries Institute President John Connelly in a statement. “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) continue to prove themselves a global leader in seafood sustainability through a disciplined reliance on real research.”

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