The National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service this week outlined a
plan to establish annual catch limits designed to help restore federally
managed marine fish stocks.
Annual catch limits are
the amount of each type of fish allowed to be caught in a year and are
required by the 2007 amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery
Conservation and Management Act.
Additionally, the act
calls for measures to ensure these limits are followed and that the
limits do not exceed the scientific recommendations made by the regional
fishery management councils’ scientific committees.
“Annual catch limits
for fish stocks will help the nation meet the call by the president and
Congress to end overfishing,” said Jim Balsiger, acting assistant
administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “They will help sustain
and recover stocks that provide the nation with valuable seafood and
recreational opportunities, as well as benefits to the ocean
Service, the regional fishery management councils and fishing
communities have taken significant steps toward ending overfishing and
rebuilding stocks in recent years, an NOAA news release stated. In 2007,
seven fish stocks were removed from the overfishing list. However, 41
fish stocks in
The guidelines published
in the Federal Register propose to set up a system of catch limits and
targets for each stock to prevent overfishing. The system would account
for scientific uncertainty in estimating catch limits for a stock, and
include accountability measures to prevent annual catch limits from
being exceeded and to address such a situation quickly if it does occur.
Annual catch limits will
be required for all
“Ending overfishing on
these stocks and preventing overfishing from occurring on others is
critical to maintaining and rebuilding our valuable fisheries
resources,” said Balsiger.
recreational and ecological stakes are high.”
The proposed guidelines
may be viewed online at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/msa2007/.
Public comments on the proposed revisions will be accepted through Sept.
According to the release,
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety
through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related
events and information service delivery for transportation, and by
providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine
Through the emerging
Global Earth Observation System of Systems, NOAA is working with its
federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to
develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet
it observes, predicts and protects, the release stated.