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Rebuilding Plans

When NOAA Fisheries determines that a stock is overfished, the relevant regional fishery management council (council) must implement a plan to rebuild it to the level that can support maximum sustainable yield (MSY). A typical rebuilding plan allows fishing to continue, but at a reduced level so that the stock will increase to the target level that supports MSY.

The graph below helps illustrate the concept of a rebuilding stock. A stock that is declared overfished—with a population size below the blue line—must have a rebuilding plan in place. The goal of that plan is to grow the stock to its target size—the orange line. The time between when the rebuilding plan goes in place and reaching the orange line is the stock’s rebuilding period. The time to achieve a rebuilt status will vary, depending on the individual stock.

In 2016, we rebuilt two stocks—barndoor skate and North Atlantic albacore—for a total of 41 rebuilt stocks since 2000. Successful rebuilding plans for both stocks included a variety of management measures.

For barndoor skate, fishery managers have prohibited catch since 2003. As a result of being rebuilt, managers may consider allowing catch of barndoor skate in the future.

For North Atlantic albacore, NOAA Fisheries worked successfully with the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to successfully negotiate reduced catches by other countries. Read more in the 2016 Report to Congress.

Overfished Stocks/Stocks in Rebuilding Plans

Rebuilding Trends

To track trends in rebuilding, NOAA Fisheries uses analyses from scientific assessments to plot the fishing mortality rate of a rebuilding stock over time. The stock's population biomass is also plotted to see how it corresponds with changes in fishing mortality. This trends analysis helps illustrate the progress of stocks that can take decades to rebuild. 

Explore the Latest Rebuilding Trends

Trends Analysis for Fish Stocks in Rebuilding Plans in 2016

Not Subject to Overfishing: Subject to Overfishing:
To see past trends analyses, visit the Trends Analysis Archive web page.