Fish Stock Sustainability Index
NOAA Fisheries measures the performance of U.S. federal fisheries through the Fish Stock Sustainability Index (FSSI). First implemented in 2005, the FSSI is a quarterly index that currently includes 199 fish stocks selected because of their importance to commercial and recreational fisheries. The FSSI measures the performance of these important fish stocks, which represent 85 percent of total catch.
The FSSI increases when NOAA Fisheries determines the status of a stock and when a stock's status improves (either no longer subject to overfishing, no longer overfished, biomass increases to at least 80 percent of target, or is rebuilt). The number of stocks in the index may be revised as new fisheries develop and stocks are assessed.
FSSI Progress Over Time
Since 2000, increases in the FSSI show significant progress in sustainably managing U.S. fisheries. The graph below illustrates the growth in the FSSI from 2000 to the end of 2015. For details on the current status, visit the Stock Status Updates page.
History of the FSSI
The original FSSI reported on 230 stocks managed under federal fishery management plans (FMPs), including domestic stocks we manage solely within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone and international stocks we manage jointly under international agreements. We reported the original FSSI on a scale of 920 possible points which required a constant 230 stocks in the index. Over time, as fishery science and management evolved and stocks were both added to and removed from FMPs, maintaining exactly 230 stocks in the FSSI became an increasing challenge.
Beginning in 2015, we revised the FSSI so that the maximum possible FSSI score is 1,000, even if the number of stocks reported in the FSSI changes. This will allow the FSSI to accommodate future additions or removals of stocks to and from FMPs. We also removed international stocks from the FSSI. International stocks are subject to different management requirements than domestic stocks, and the impact of U.S. fisheries management to control overfishing or rebuild these stocks is often small or indirect. By focusing on domestic stocks, the FSSI is a stronger performance measure for U.S. fishery management. We will continue to track the overfished and overfishing status of international stocks separately from FSSI.
We have developed a historical summary of all the stocks that have been included in FSSI over time.