“….a country that has actually done a lot to curtail overfishing and rebuild its fisheries in the past decade — the United States.
“Back in the 1980s and ’90s, many fisheries in the US were in serious trouble. Fish populations were dropping sharply. Some of New England’s best-known groundfish stocks — including flounder, cod, and haddock — had collapsed, costing the region’s coastal communities hundreds of millions of dollars.
“But the picture has improved considerably in the last decade, thanks in part to stricter fishing regulations. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its annual fisheries update for 2013 — and the news was encouraging. Yes, progress has been uneven. About one-fifth of assessed stocks are still overfished. But on the whole, US fisheries are steadily recovering.”
While the rest of the news is daunting, and some areas remain challenged, like the Gulf of Mexico, it’s good to recognize a bright spot when one finds it.
And Monterey Bay Aquarium reports:
Just 14 years after the groundfish fishery on the U.S. west coast was declared a commercial failure and an economic disaster, our Seafood Watch program just upgraded 21 species that are recovering in the wild and are now sustainable choices for seafood lovers.
It’s a dramatic turnaround — the most dramatic in the 15-year history of Seafood Watch — and reflects significant improvements in federal fishery management to restore these economically important fisheries in California, Oregon and Washington. It also underscores the important roles that fishermen and our colleagues in the sustainable seafood movement play in bringing the oceans back to health.
The new Seafood Watch rankings mean that species like rockfishes (often sold commercially as “snapper”), as well as spiny dogfish, lingcod and a number of flatfishes, including Dover sole, sand dabs and starry flounder are back on the menu.
“This is one of the great success stories about ecological and economic recovery of a commercially important fishery,” says Margaret Spring, vice president of conservation and science, and chief conservation officer for the Aquarium.
“Not long ago many of these species were in collapse,” says Tim Fitzgerald, who manages the sustainable seafood program for the Environmental Defense Fund – one of the organizations that worked with fishermen and fisheries managers on the turnaround. “Thanks to smarter fishing regulations and fishermen’s commitment to conservation, consumers and seafood businesses can now add West Coast groundfish to their list of sustainable choices.”