05/14/2012 - A record six populations of fish returned to healthy levels in 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported to Congress on Monday.
NOAA’s Fisheries Service said the count showed that controversial and often unpopular catch limits imposed by the government have been working.
Among the rebuilt populations are the Bering Sea snow crab, the summer flounder on the mid-Atlantic coast, the haddock in the Gulf of Maine, the Chinook salmon along the Northern California coast, the coho salmon off Washington State and the Pacific widow rockfish, the Fisheries Service said.
Lee Crockett, director of federal fisheries policy for the Pew Environmental Group, called the report’s findings encouraging. “It is a demonstration that the sacrifices are showing results,” he said.
Given that fishermen often find the catch limits financially burdensome, a push is under way in Congress to amend the Magnuson-Stevens act to allow more exemptions from catch limits. Mr. Crockett contends that it is far too soon to soften the law, which was passed in 1976 and has twice been amended.
To be deemed rebuilt, fish stocks only have to be 40 percent of their historical levels, he noted. “Our message is this law is working, so let’s leave it alone and let it work,” Mr. Crockett said.
Read the full blog post, A Rebound for 6 Fish Populations, on the New York Times' website.