THE United States has reported a dramatic reduction in the amount of overfishing around its coastline.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is the supervisor organisation for the industry, has sent a report to Congress stating that the number of stocks on the overfishing list are now at an all-time low.
NOAA said its continued success in fisheries management is being guided by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).
It adds that the MSA’s reliance on sound science, regional councils, adaptive management, and public participation is the reason US fisheries are among the most sustainable in the world.
NOAA reached a new milestone last year when it found that the number of overfished stocks were at the lowest level ever, making up just 15 per cent of all assessed stocks. A further 39 stocks are currently being rebuilt.
NOAA has also issued figures highlighting just how much fishing and seafood contributes to the national economy. It is generating more than $208 billion in sales and supporting 1.6 million jobs.
‘The need to increase our nation’s seafood production is a continuing and growing challenge, and rebuilding and maintaining fish stocks at sustainable levels will help achieve this goal,’ a NOAA spokesman said.
‘NOAA Fisheries is focusing on a number of activities aimed at levelling the playing field for our domestic seafood industry. These include increasing seafood trade opportunities and market access so that we can remain competitive with other seafood exporting countries.’
Turning to fish farming, NOAA said: ‘Marine aquaculture operations provide a year-round source of high quality jobs and economic opportunities that augment seasonal tourism and commercial fishing in coastal communities.
‘By fostering responsible aquaculture in the United States, we can ensure a safe, secure, and sustainable local seafood supply.’