NOAA: Some US tuna, red snapper overfished
Pacific bigeye tuna, Pacific bluefin tuna and red snapper are all overfished or subject to overfishing in the United States, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) said in a recent federal register notice.
The agency is continuing the status of Western and Central Pacific bigeye tuna as "subject to overfishing" based on the most recent (2014) stock assessment, Jennie Lyons, a NOAA spokesperson, told SeafoodSource.
“The driver for this status is international fishing pressure and inadequate management by the international body responsible for management, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission,” Lyons said.
While the Western Pacific council has “taken the necessary action and a new stock assessment is expected this summer…as a routine order of business and per the requirement of the Magnuson Act, we formally notified the Western Pacific council of the continued status of ‘subject to overfishing’ and also published the status in the Federal Register,” Lyons said
NMFS also found that Pacific bluefin tuna in the North Pacific Ocean and South Atlantic red snapper are still both overfished and subject to overfishing.
The overfished condition of Pacific bluefin tuna in the North Pacific Ocean is due largely to excessive international fishing pressure, and “there are no management measures (or efficiency measures) to end overfishing under an international agreement to which the United States is a party,” NMFS wrote.
The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council and the Pacific Fishery Management Council must develop recommendations to the Secretary of State and Congress for “international actions to end overfishing and rebuild the Pacific bluefin tuna in the North Pacific Ocean,” NMFS wrote. The councils must also develop recommendations for domestic regulations to address the relative impact of the domestic fishing fleet on the stock.
Meanwhile, NMFS’s overfishing determination on red snapper is based on the most recent stock assessment, finalized in 2016, “which provides no basis to change the determination that the stock is subject to overfishing and is overfished,” NMFS wrote. “NMFS continues to work with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to end overfishing and rebuild this stock.”
In addition, South Atlantic bluefin tilefish is still subject to overfishing. “This determination is based on the most recent stock assessment, finalized in 2016, which supports a finding of subject to overfishing because estimates of fishing mortality are above the maximum fishing mortality threshold. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council has been informed that they must take action to end overfishing immediately on this stock,” the Federal Register notice stated.