Government Report Shows U.S. Fisheries Operating Sustainably Rebuilding Plans Continue to Make Progress Despite Challenges



    WASHINGTON, June 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Fisheries Institute
 (NFI) welcomed news today that the vast majority of U.S. fisheries are
 sustainably managed. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
 Administration's (NOAA) "Status of Fisheries of the United States" report,
 81 percent of fish stocks assessed for 2005 are sustainably managed and one
 stock in the Pacific Northwest, Lingcod, has been fully rebuilt three years
 ahead of schedule.
     "The bottom line is: if the species of fish is in the store or on the
 menu, the stock is available to meet consumer demand," said NFI President
 John Connelly. "It is our industry's goal to ensure our products will be
 available to American consumers for years to come and this new report
 highlights our efforts to achieve that."
     Of the 206 stocks assessed this year, about three-quarters of those
 stocks are healthy. Six fish stocks with previously low populations are now
 rebuilt and considered sustainable. Stocks that have been assessed with a
 low sustainable population will undergo a rebuilding plan developed by the
 regional fishery management councils to restore the fish to sustainable
 levels.
     "A fish stock categorized as 'overfished' doesn't mean it is on the
 verge of extinction," said Connelly. "Imagine you're driving and you're low
 on gas but know that you have many miles to drive before hitting empty.
 Just as you want to replenish your gas supply before getting to 'E,'
 fisheries managers put plans in place to replenish fish species before
 stocks are threatened. The 'overfished' determination factors in a safety
 margin that ensures the fish population will be able to recover."
     As in the past, this year's findings demonstrate the continued effort
 by NOAA Fisheries, along with commercial and recreational fishermen, to
 support sustainable harvesting of this nutritious and affordable protein
 source.
     "Experts in our industry, with years of experience and knowledge, are
 committed to continued collaboration with government officials, community
 representatives, conservationists and others involved in the regional
 council process," Connelly continued. "We look forward to continued
 progress in the future."
     Under NOAA Fisheries, the federal government oversees a system of eight
 regional fishery management councils covering fisheries from Maine to
 Hawaii. The decision-making authority rests with these regional councils,
 which are comprised of representatives of the various sectors involved in
 fisheries. The diversity of interests represented on the councils has
 helped ensure all parties have a voice in the regulatory process.
     NFI is the leading trade association for the seafood industry whose
 members represent a variety of businesses ranging from the water to the
 table. For more information visit our website at
 http://www.AboutSeafood.com.
 
 

SOURCE National Fisheries Institute

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