Mar 28 2011

The End of Overfishing in America

A fisherman unloads a portion of his catch for the day at Pigeon Cove Whole Foods docks in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Eric Schwaab, the administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, announced this week that overfishing will end in U.S. waters. (AP/Lisa Poole)

 

By Michael Conathan | March 25, 2011

This feature is part of a new series from CAP dealing with fisheries management issues. The series will publish biweekly on Fridays. It is a joint column with Science Progress.

Eric Schwaab, the administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS, stood before a crowd of fisheries experts on Monday at the Boston Seafood Show. Schwaab had made many forays to New England—home of some of the squeakiest wheels in our nation’s fishing industry—since taking over the job about a year ago. But this time was different. He came bearing a remarkable message: We are witnessing the end of overfishing in U.S. waters.

One of the biggest changes to fisheries law in the 2007 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act was the imposition of strict annual catch limits, or ACLs, in fisheries experiencing overfishing beginning in 2010, and for all other fisheries in 2011, “at a level such that overfishing does not occur.” Schwaab said the 2010 target of putting ACLs in place for all overfished fisheries was achieved, and “We are on track to meet this year’s deadline of having [ACLs] in place, as required, for all 528 managed stocks and complexes comprising U.S. harvest.”

Schwaab went on to call this accomplishment an “enormous milestone.” Quite frankly, that is an even more enormous understatement.

The end of overfishing should be shouted from rooftops from New England to the Carolinas to the Gulf Coast to Alaska to the Pacific Island territories and back to NMFS’s Silver Spring, Maryland headquarters. This is the biggest national news story our fisheries have seen in years.

Read the rest of the story from America Progress.

 

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