I am pleased to announce the release of the annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries. The Status of Stocks Report measures the progress the nation has made in ending overfishing and rebuilding stocks. It provides a “snapshot in time” of the status of our nation’s fisheries last year, and there is good news to share.
At the end of 2018, the overfishing list dropped to 28 stocks and the overfished list included 43 stocks. 91 percent of the stocks we manage are not subject to overfishing and 82 percent are not overfished.
We have rebuilt 45 stocks since 2000, and this year we added Gulf of Maine smooth skate to that list. After nine years in a rebuilding plan with strict management, including a prohibition on landings, that stock was declared rebuilt in 2018.
At NOAA, we regularly track more than 470 stocks or stock complexes. Continuous monitoring and improvement of our knowledge about the status of stocks is key to ongoing sustainable fisheries management under the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
U.S. fisheries make a significant contribution to the U.S. economy and the broader seafood supply chain of services and products. They provide jobs and recreation and keep our coastal communities vibrant. Combined, U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing generated more than $212 billion in sales and supported 1.7 million jobs in 2016. This report shows that by ending overfishing and rebuilding stocks, we are strengthening sustainability and the value of U.S. fisheries. That, in turn, supports our economy, our communities, marine ecosystems, and provides healthy, sustainable seafood for the nation and the world.
Collectively, we are working harder than ever to meet our conservation goals in a way that maximizes revenue, increases fishing opportunities, and reduces regulatory burden on the industry.
NOAA Fisheries and our many partners will build on these successes and adapt our management approach to reflect changing ocean conditions to help us continue to grow the Blue Economy.