21 U.S. fisheries have been rebuilt since 2000, according to a 2011 report to Congress from NOAA’s Fisheries Service.
According to NOAA scientists, in 2010, 84 percent of the stocks examined for fishing activity (213 of 253 stocks) were free from overfishing, or not fished at too high a level, and 77 percent of the stocks with known population levels (159 of 207 stocks) were above the overfished level (too low to provide the maximum sustainable yield).
A handful of other stocks were moved onto the overfishing and overfished lists this year: Although it is often assumed that a stock has a low population due to too much fishing, other factors influence the health and abundance of fish stocks, including environmental changes, disease, and habitat degradation. Scientists believe that one of the stocks added to the overfished list, the Tanner crab in Alaska, may have been affected by environmental factors.
The report, which has been issued annually since 1997, summarizes the best available science for the 528 federally-managed fish stocks. Since not all stocks are targeted by commercial and recreational fishermen, NOAA prioritizes collecting information on the commercially and recreationally important species that constitute most of the domestic fishing activity in the country.
To complete the annual report, NOAA examines a variety of sources, including landings data and log books, and conducts its own surveys. The 2010 Status of U.S. Fisheries, which contains data and analysis nationally and by region, is available online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2011/07/docs/report.pdf.