Written by Jen Finn
WASHINGTON — Federal efforts to rebuild depleted fish populations have largely been successful, but pressure to overfish some species remains high, and some fish stocks have not rebounded as quickly as projected, according to a new report by a scientific panel.
The report by the National Research Council said 43 percent of fish stocks identified as being overfished were rebuilt or showed good progress toward rebuilding within 10 years, the time limit required by federal law. Another 31 percent were on track to rebuild if sharply reduced fishing levels remain in place, the report said.
But the report also said 26 percent of overfished stocks continue to be overfished, due to ineffective enforcement and errors in fish stock estimates that led officials to set catch limits that were too high.
The report, released Thursday, said fishery management plans continue to be plagued by uncertainty, noting that 20 of 55 fish stocks examined by the research council were not actually overfished despite being classified as such by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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