US fisheries are continuing to rebuild, with the number of overfished stocks remaining near all-time lows, NOAA Fisheries said April 20, in its 2015 Status of US Fisheries report to Congress.
Two stocks that came off the overfished list were the canary rockfish along the Pacific Coast, and blueline tilefish in the South Atlantic. Blue king crab in Alaska’s Pribilof Islands remained on the overfished list, along with Pacific Ocean perch and Yelloweye rockfish in the Pacific region.
Eight stocks, from the Gulf of Mexico, New England and Puerto Rico came off the overfishing list, while Chinook salmon in the Columbia River Basin, and areas of the Washington coast, as well as coho salmon, were added to the overfishing list.
A stock is listed as overfished when the population size of a stock is too low, whether because of fishing or other causes, such as environmental changes.
A stock is put on the overfishing list when the annual catch rate is too high.
The federal agency attributed the progress to the combined efforts of NOAA Fisheries, commercial and recreational fishermen, regional fishery management councils, states and other partners.
“It’s fitting that this report aligns with the 40th anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries.
“Magnuson-Stevens provided the dynamic, science-based management process that is proving successful year after year at keeping US fisheries among the world’s most sustainable and resilient. This year’s report highlights the act’s continued success,” she said. “This rebuilding success demonstrates the importance of the scientific monitoring and responsive management approach Congress built in to the Magnuson-Stevens Act,” she said. “It also shows that managing fisheries to sustainable levels in an ever-changing environment is an ongoing process of science informing management.”