According to the annual NOAA Status of U.S. Fish Stocks report released last month, offshore fish stocks that are either experiencing overfishing (the annual rate of catch is too high) or are overfished (the population size is too small) are at all-time lows.
Of the 308 fish stocks managed by the eight regional fishery management councils with a known stock status, 92 percent are not experiencing overfishing and 84 percent are not overfished. In the South Atlantic region (the Carolinas, Georgia and east Florida), out of all the stocks managed, only six species (all in the snapper-grouper fishery) are either experiencing overfishing or are overfished.
While all of this is good news, there is some bad news concerning fish stocks.
Of the 469 stocks managed by the fishery councils, the status of 161 stocks is unknown for lack of stock assessments, the basic scientific tool used to determine sustainable fishing levels. In the South Atlantic, of the 59 species in the snapper-grouper fishery, the stock status is unknown for 76 percent or 45 species. Additionally, the status is unknown for important top-water species like dolphin (mahi) and wahoo.
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