American Fisheries See Tides Turn as Fish Stocks Make a Comeback

American Fisheries See Tides Turn as Fish Stocks Make a Comeback

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Fishing_Boat Tybee Georgia CC VladUK

American fisheries that were depleted just 15 years ago are springing back thanks to science and a strong current of tougher laws.

Over-fishing had wiped out stocks in 92 U.S. fisheries by 2000, and fishermen were facing hard economic times until Congress took action in 2007.

With bipartisan support, it passed an amendment requiring federally managed fisheries to set catch limits based on science — and to have a plan in place to enforce them by 2011.

RELATED:  Manatee Population Has Rebounded 500 Percent, No Longer Endangered

Previously, the limits had been set by businessmen and politicians, but suddenly looking at fish populations from a purely scientific view changed everything. The populations began bouncing back almost overnight.

By 2015, the number of overfished stocks had dropped by two-thirds while federal efforts successfully rebuilt the stocks of 39 fish species off U.S. coasts.

ALSO: 21 Fish You Can Now Eat Guilt-Free in Dramatic Turnaround for West Coast US Fisheries

Enforcing the limits has been harder than the science of setting them. One of the methods was to encourage fishing fleets on the U.S. West Coast to work with universities and nonprofits to develop better technology and conservation zones to help fish populations recover.

The boats now alert one another when they start sighting overfished species and in the process have been providing environmental groups with valuable knowledge of fragile aquatic ecology.

(READ more at the New York Times) — Photo: VladUK, CC Republish
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