Record Low Fish Stocks Subject to Overfishing

Record Low Fish Stocks Subject to Overfishing
A school of fish. File photo.

A record low number of fish stocks were subject to overfishing in 2023, according to the annual Status of Stocks report that assesses the 506 stocks and stock complexes managed by NOAA Fisheries, which was released May 2.

U.S. fisheries data confirmed that 94% of stocks in 2023 were not subject to overfishing and 82% were not overfished, a 1% improvement over 2022 data of 93% and 81% respectively.

Ongoing positive trends continued with the number of stocks on the overfishing list decreasing by three stocks, reaching an all-time low of 21 stocks, and the number of stocks on the overfished list decreasing by one stock, to 47.

Since 2000, NOAA Fisheries has rebuilt 50 stocks.

NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said that by ending overfishing and rebuilding stocks, the agency is strengthening the value of U.S. fisheries to the economy, our communities and marine ecosystems.

“Sustainably managed fisheries are important to the nation’s economy and provide opportunities for commercial, recreational and subsistence fishing, while keeping a renewable supply of seafood for consumers,” he said.

NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit noted that the agency continuously adjusts management measures in response to complex challenges, including climate change, rebuilding stocks, ending overfishing and developing new forecasting tools to better predict ocean conditions.

To keep domestic fisheries operating sustainably, NOAA Fisheries partners with the U.S. regional fishery management councils and interstate fisheries commissions for science-based management processes to end overfishing and rebuild stocks.

NOAA Fisheries has reported annually on the status of fish stocks since 1996 to comply with requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act.


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