Visit the U.S. South Atlantic coast and you will find fascinating marine ecosystems from estuaries and coral gardens to deepwater canyons and shallow tropical waters. These environmental jewels draw divers, anglers, and tourists from around the world expecting healthy waters and abundant fish populations.
Yet threats ranging from overfishing to climate change jeopardize these economic and ecological treasures. Major progress has been achieved toward ending and preventing overfishing through federally required science-based annual catch limits. We must build on that success by ensuring depleted species recover to healthy levels, protecting habitat where fish live and spawn, reducing accidental catch of non-targeted species, and safeguarding marine food webs.
It is time to stop managing marine resources piecemeal but rather embrace a holistic approach that considers the interactions among prey and predator and the important roles played by marine life in larger ecosystems.