We heard it first in January: the newly retired head of federal fisheries science announced that this would be the year we’d see the end of overfishing in U.S. waters. Why? Because, for the first time in 35 years of federal fisheries management, all fish stocks primarily fished in U.S. waters were subject to science-based, sustainable catch limits. If fishermen stay within those limits, no U.S. fish stocks will have been subject to overfishing this season.
Well, the close of the 2010 fishing season is less than a week away. And, indeed, all indications are that we’re on track to hit that historic milestone (check back for an update later this week).Understanding how we got here and how significant this really is could be a graduate-level course in the history of fisheries management. Maybe it is. Anyway, the impending end of the fishing season has brought a flurry of explainers and commentaries from those most knowledgeable about the topic. Dig in and share your insights in the comments.
Overfishing 101: How Ocean Fish Populations are Managed in the U.S. – Lee Crockett, Director of Federal Fisheries Policy for Pew Environment Group, outlines the ecological and economic impacts of overfishing. This is the second in an ongoing Overfishing 101 series; the first was a brief intro to the series, and the rest have yet to come.
Extra Credit: Read about Lee Crockett’s personal experiences with the ‘wild west’ of the seas before the passage of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 35 years ago.
The Road to End Overfishing: 35 Years of Magnuson Act – Eric Schwaab, NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, discusses the history of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the evolution of U.S. fisheries management over the course of 35 years.
The End of Overfishing in America – Michael Conathan, Director of Ocean Policy at Center for American Progress, provides analysis of media coverage of competing assessments of fisheries health, complete with pop culture
Let us eat fish – Ray Hilborn, professor of aquatic and fisheries science at University of Washington, argues U.S. fisheries are in better shape than many regulators say
Common questions about sustainable seafood – Q&A with Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod and World without Fish.