Reading the environmental news these days can really get you down. The climate is changing, sea levels are rising, and in many parts of the world, the oceans are being emptied out by overfishing. But there are a few good news stories out there, and here's one that you might not have heard about: In the United States, we've brought overfishing under control. That means healthier ocean ecosystems and a brighter future for fishermen and coastal communities all along our coasts.
Overfishing is the practice of catching fish faster than they can reproduce, and decades of overfishing had left many of our fisheries in bad shape. But as of 2007, new amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act required us to end overfishing, rebuild depleted stocks, and set sustainable catch limits for all the marine fisheries we manage.
That's a big job. We manage over 400 stocks of fish and shellfish, and it takes a tremendous investment in scientific research just to figure out how well or poorly they’re doing, to say nothing of bringing them back to a healthy state.
So how far have we come? And what are the remaining challenges? To find out, listen to this interview with Sam Rauch. As the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs at NOAA Fisheries, Rauch oversees the agency’s efforts to keep our fisheries sustainable.
The ABC’s of Stock Assessment