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A Message from Sam Rauch, Head of NOAA Fisheries

Leading by Success32 Stocks Declared Rebuilt Since 2000 with Overfishing at an All-time Low 

May 2013

This month we turn the spotlight onto the continued success of the U.S. science-based fisheries management system established under the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). 

We begin the month with the release of our annual report to Congress on the 2012 Status of Stocks, which documents the strength of the U.S. fisheries management process  to prevent overfishing, rebuild our fisheries, and ensure sustainable harvest levels for the long-term.  In 2012, the data from our scientists showed that we continued to build on the successes of the last several years.  Ten additional stocks have been removed from the overfishing list, four stocks from the overfished list, and an another six stocks have been declared rebuilt, bringing the total to 32 rebuilt stocks since 2000.  This year, we have streamlined the 2012 report to better summarize the highlights upfront, while maintaining an on-line only companion piece that provides the data-rich details stock-by-stock.   For the report and tables visit us here.

This good news on the status of our fisheries comes on the heels of our most recent fisheries economics report, which confirmed that fisheries, including commercial and recreational saltwater fishing and all of the associated supply chain businesses, play an enormous role in driving the U.S. economy, generating more than $199 billion in sales and supporting 1.7 million jobs in 2011.

The significant improvement in the status of U.S. stocks and the recent, positive fisheries economic trends are exciting because they underscore the strength of the U.S. system. They also reflect the high level of collaboration among the agency, the Regional Fishery Management Council, Congress, researchers, fishing communities, and countless other partners.  Next week, this broad spectrum of stakeholders, scientists and managers will convene in Washington, D.C., at the Managing Our Nations Fisheries-3 (MONF-3) conference to begin a national examination of the future of the U.S. fisheries management system under the MSA. 

The third conference of its kind, MONF-3 is dedicated to providing a neutral forum where stakeholders, scientists, and managers can come together to thoughtfully examine and discuss the current state of fisheries, build on success, and chart a course for advancing sustainable fisheries into the future.  The conference themes are focused on fisheries management, ecosystems, and communities.  I invite you to view the white papers and materials developed for the conference and hope you can follow us online at the conference, May 7-9.         

Samuel D. Rauch III
Acting Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries