By Dan Shapley
The annual federal assessment of marine fisheries showed that one in four fish stocks and complexes 47 of 187 has been overfished, and that fishing rates for 20% 48 of 242 stocks allow continued overfishing. The number of overfished stocks and the rate of overfishing both were worse than in past years, even as the nation faces a congressionally mandated 2010 deadline to stop overfishing. "Overfishing must be solved now," said Bill Hogarth, director of NOAA Fisheries Service. "We have the right combination of legal tools to improve stewardship, and we're moving full throttle ahead with implementing the new mandate to end overfishing so future generations of Americans can enjoy sustainable and healthy marine ecosystems." The assessment looks at fish caught between three and 200 miles from the coast -- but the story is not much different from what is being observed around the world. Scientific estimates say if current fishing practices continue, the world's stocks of commercially viable fish will be cut roughly in half by mid-century, making this endeavor critical in a world whose growing population will not turn away from the sea as it looks for food, according to a story in the June 26 Times-Picayune.
Read the Status of Stocks Report to Congress 2006.