Written by Linc Bedrosian
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
In NOAA's recently released Annual Report on the Status of U.S. Fisheries for 2012, it notes that six stocks managed under rebuilding plans were declared rebuilt to target levels in 2012, bringing the grand total of stocks rebuilt since 2000 to 32.
That news might be better received in New England if Atlantic cod, yellowtail flounder and other key groundfish species were among those 32 stocks. Unfortunately, Atlantic cod and yellowtail flounder found themselves on both the overfishing and overfished lists.
Given the severe fishing restrictions they've been operating under for the better part of two decades, groundfish harvesters might wonder how cod is deemed subject to overfishing. But according to the report, the designation doesn't necessarily mean that current fishing effort is the problem.
"These negative outcomes are associated with high levels of overfishing over a period of many years," the report states.
If the news regarding New England's groundfish stocks isn't so encouraging, the report says overall, progress is being made overall towards ending overfishing and rebuilding stocks in U.S. fisheries. This NOAA video offers the highlights.
In his opening message in the report, NMFS Acting Director Sam Rauch notes that the agency views "sustainability as a process rather than an end point," and that NMFS has plenty of work still ahead.
"To build on our successes and fully achieve both biological and economic benefits of sustainable fisheries through science-based management," Rauch says, "we will need to ensure the timely collection of data, develop more robust and frequent stock assessments, better assess the economic consequences of management actions, and improve our understanding of environmental factors — including climate change — affecting fishery resources."
It'll be interesting to see if next year's annual report will be able to demonstrate progress on those fronts. If it can, then maybe New England's groundfish industry might be able to share in the good news, too.
NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.
The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.Read more...
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...