Concerned sardine numbers may be starting to collapse, conservation groups are calling on federal fishery managers to halt West Coast commercial sardine fishing to give the species a better chance to rebound.
"If they continue fishing them hard, they will go down a lot faster, and it will take them longer to recover," said Ben Enticknap of the conservation group Oceana, which wants a suspension through the first half of 2014.
The fishing industry counters that while there are signs sardines are going into a natural cycle of decline, fishery management has taken precautions to prevent overfishing, which was common in the past.
"Today's precautionary management framework cannot be compared to the historic fishery, which harvested as much as 50 percent of the standing stock," said Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association, which represents sardine fishermen and processors. She also is vice chairwoman of a committee that advises the federal Pacific Fishery Management Council on sardines and related species.
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National Fisherman Live: 1/27/15
In this episode:
Assessment: Atlantic menhaden is not overfished
Bering Sea pollock fishery casts off
Dock to Dish opens Florida’s first CSF
Second wave of disaster funds for Alaska
Fisherman lands N.C.’s largest bluefin ever
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is still seeking public review and comment on the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management Conformance Criteria (Version 1.2, September 2011). The public review and comment period, which opened on Dec. 3, 2014, runs through Monday, Feb. 3.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.