NOAA Fisheries has released the Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries. The report highlights the successful management of U.S. fisheries and the broad economic impact of commercial and recreational fisheries on the U.S. economy.

Sustainable U.S. fisheries play an essential role in the nation’s economy. They provide commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing opportunities and sustainable seafood for consumers.

NOAA Fisheries’ 2023 Status of Stocks shows continued progress in science and management for U.S. fisheries. Key takeaways include:

  • The number of stocks on the overfishing list decreased by three stocks, reaching an all-time low number of 21 stocks on the overfishing list
  • The number of stocks on the overfished list decreased by one stock to 47
  • 94 percent of stocks were not subject to overfishing, an all-time high
  • 82 percent were not overfished
  • Since 2000, 50 stocks have been rebuilt

U.S. fisheries' value is strengthening the economy, our communities, and marine ecosystems by working to prevent overfishing and rebuild stocks.

NOAA Fisheries manages 506 stocks or stock complexes in 45 fishery management plans. At the end of 2023, the overfishing list included 21 stocks, 47 stocks, and one stock was rebuilt, bringing the number of rebuilt stocks to 50 since 2000.

The status of fish stocks and stock complexes is evaluated through stock assessments and by comparing catch data to an overfishing reference level. Of the 506 stocks and stock complexes, 364 have a known overfishing status (343 not subject to overfishing and 21 subject to overfishing), and 263 have a known overfished status (216 not overfished and 47 overfished). Of the stocks most targeted by fishermen, 88 percent have a known overfishing status, and 89 percent have a known overfished status. These stocks are contained in the Fish Stock Sustainability Index.

Rebuilding the 50th fish stock was a significant milestone for 2023. Snohomish coho salmon was determined to be overfished in 2018 and has now been rebuilt to its sustainable level. A combination of responsive fishery management and habitat restoration helped to rebuild this vital fish population. Snohomish coho salmon is the latest rebuilding success that dates back to 2000, when Atlantic Sea scallop was the first stock declared rebuilt under the Magnuson-Stevens Act requirements.

Another significant achievement this year includes nine first-time stock assessments for American Samoa bottom fish. Previously assessed as an 11-stock complex, the American Samoa bottom fish stock complex was determined to be overfished and subject to overfishing in 2020. Stock assessments conducted in 2023 incorporated new and improved data, allowing scientists to assess these bottom fish as seven individual stocks and two stock complexes (containing two stocks each), none of which were overfished or subject to overfishing.

Additional accomplishments include a fishery management plan amendment that allowed for first-time status determinations for six Pacific coast groundfish stocks. Five of these stocks were found to be not overfished, while quillback rockfish–California was determined to be overfished. Determining the status of previously unknown stocks advances our knowledge and provides managers with the information they need to develop appropriate management responses. Finally, Atlantic chub mackerel had a first-time overfishing status determination (not subject to overfishing) using catch compared to its reference level.

To view the full 2023 Status of Stocks click here.

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