NOAA Releases Annual Overfishing Report
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has come out with its 2010 Status Of Stocks [pdf] report. The report is like a State of the Union for fish.
The good news: Out of 253 stocks that could be measured for overfishing (fish that were caught beyond their annual catch quota) 213 fish populations (84%) are not subject to overfishing.
The bad news: 40 fish populations (16%) are victims of overfishing, compared with 38 fish stocks in 2009.
More bad news: In 2009, 46 fish populations were overfished compared to 48 populations in 2010. ("Overfished" is different "overfishing" because overfished population might also be due to other reasons such as environmental changes, disease and habitat degradation.)
The pretty good news: Three Northeast fisheries—Georges Bank haddock, Atlantic pollock and spiny dogfish—have been rebuilt to healthy levels. Twenty one fish populations have been rebuilt since 2000.
The good-to-know news: Stocks are typically reassessed every three to five years, so some of the numbers are carried over from previous years.
The NOAA and the eight regional fishery management councils are required to end overfishing under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act by using annual catch limits and accountability measures. Out of the 528 federally-managed fish stocks, including all stocks that are being fished at too high of a level, 203 stocks have limits and measures in place.