Swordfish – a Sustainable Seafood Choice
November 8, 2012
In the 1990s, the North Atlantic swordfish population was in trouble – at only 58% of its target level, it was considered overfished. But things have changed remarkably, thanks to a 1999 international plan that rebuilt this stock several years ahead of schedule. Today, North Atlantic swordfish is one of the most sustainable seafood choices. How is this possible? The answer points to one of the greatest success stories of U.S. and international fisheries management.
Under an international rebuilding plan adopted by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the United States reduced landings of North Atlantic swordfish and closed certain fishing grounds to protect undersized swordfish and allow the population to grow and rebuild. U.S. fishermen, managers, and scientists also worked together to develop new management measures that reduce the fishery’s impact on sea turtles and marine mammals.
So has North Atlantic swordfish really rebounded? The answer is absolutely yes. This stock is fully rebuilt, and consumers can rest assured that when they buy North Atlantic swordfish harvested by U.S. vessels, they are supporting one of the most environmentally responsible pelagic longline fisheries in the world. Learn more about the status of North Atlantic swordfish in the United States.
With the stock at a healthy level, NOAA Fisheries is working to further expand opportunities for harvesting North Atlantic swordfish. Rick Pearson, NOAA Fisheries Management Specialist for Highly Migratory Species, explains how this is being done.
Interview with Rick Pearson, NOAA Fisheries Management Specialist for Highly Migratory Species
What is NOAA doing to increase fishing opportunities for Atlantic swordfish?