See all articles

NOAA adds chinook, tuna stocks to annual overfishing list

Total on overfished, overfishing list increases in 2015, year-on-year.

There were both improvements and downfalls, year-to-year, in NOAA Fisheries' 2015 Status of Stocks report, but on balance, the news was negative.

"Eight stocks were removed from the overfishing list but we did have 10 come on, which is a higher number than we usually have," said Alan Risenhoover, NOAA Fisheries Office of Sustainable Fisheries director.  Two stocks came off the overfished list, and three were added.

NOAA Fisheries tracks 473 stocks and stock complexes in 46 fishery management plans (FMP).

Of 313 stocks with a known status, 28, or 9 percent, are subject to overfishing.  In comparison, there were 26 stocks on the overfishing list in 2014.

Added to this list are:

  • Hogfish - Southeast Florida
  • Chinook salmon - Columbia River Basin and Upper River Summer
  • Chinook salmon - Washington Coast and Willapa Bay Fall Natural
  • Chinook salmon - Washington Coast and Grays Harbor Fall
  • Coho salmon - Washington Coast: Hoh
  • Swordfish - Eastern Pacific
  • Summer  flounder
  • Yellowtail  flounder - Southern New England/ Mid-Atlantic
  • Winter  flounder - Georges Bank
  • Bigeye tuna - Atlantic

"Some of the climate conditions out there like drought is having an effect on that stock," he said, referring to West coast chinook. "They exceeded their harvest levels, which is why they were listed as subject to overfishing, but they met their escapement or spawning levels. So while more fish were caught than we wanted, more fish than we needed were spawned and did make it back up the rivers."

He added, for flounder, "there's a proposal out right now to significantly cut the harvest levels or quota for those stocks to address that and work on rebuilding programs."

For tuna, Risenhoover clarified, "US fishermen harvest less than 1 percent of the quota of ... Eastern Pacific swordfish and the Atlantic bigeye tuna."

Some of the species added to the list were previously unknown ones, or species NOAA had not yet assessed previously.

"Whether it’s removing stocks from the overfishing list or determining the status of others that were previously unknown, NMFS recognizes that fisheries management is a dynamic and ever-changing pursuit," said John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute (NFI).

Of 233 stocks with a known status, 38, or 16 percent, are overfished. In comparison, 37 were on the overfished list.

Added to this list are:

  • Hogfish - Southeast Florida
  • Yellowtail Flounder - Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic
  • Winter Flounder - Georges Bank

In 2015, two previously overfished Pacific coast groundfish stocks were rebuilt: petrale sole and canary rockfish. In 2015, 39 stocks were on the rebuilt list, two more than 2014.

"Fishermen can look forward to fewer restrictions for both stocks and higher catch limits for canary rockfish," according to the NOAA report.

"NOAA not only manages U.S. stocks but must work closely with international bodies and other trading nations to protect the health of highly migratory species and to ensure Illegal, Unregulated and Underreported fishing is eliminated," said Connelly.




Latest news
Most read