NOAA Results Are Encouraging ...

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) recently published its Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries for 2011. Given that fisheries play a large role in the U.S. economy, NOAA (of the U.S. Department of Commerce) seeks to end overfishing and rebuild our fisheries. This annual report documents progress toward that end. And for 2011 the news is positive:

Stocks at a Glance
 Overfishing status
  • 222 stocks (86%) are not subject to overfishing
  • 36 stocks (14%) are subject to overfishing
 Overfished Status
  • 174 stocks (79%) are not overfished
  • 45 stocks (21%) are overfished
Rebuilt Status
  • 6 stocks declared rebuilt, totaling 27 stocks rebuilt to date
  • 51 stocks in rebuilding plans, with 6 additional plans in development
Summary of Stock Changes
 Subject to Overfishing
  • 2010 40 (16%)
  • 2011 36 (14%)
  • 2010 48 (23%)
  • 2011 45 (21%)
  • 2010 21
  • 2011 27 
Overfishing is when the rate of removal from a stock is too high. A priority for the U.S. is ending overfishing so that all stocks can rebuild and be sustained at rebuilt levels.
Overfished is when the population is too low, or below a prescribed threshold. A population can be overfished but be managed under a rebuilding plan that over time returns the population to health.
Rebuilt is when a stock has increased to its target population level after falling below the critical overfished level.

*taken from 2011 Status of Fisheries Fact Sheet

But be careful not to get too giddy with the good news. This applies to U.S. Fisheries only, where fish stock data is reliably used. Other countries around the world use catch data and the two are apples and oranges and subject to much debate. Stay tuned for more ...