NOAA concluded a three-day workshop in Wash., D.C. last week, where government scientists met with scientists from the fishery management councils and academia to discuss a number of critical fishery science issues. Discussions centered around sustaining and rebuilding fish stocks and setting catch limits, all in the hopes to end overfishing.
NOAA sponsored the workshop to gather information about the current state of scientific data needed to support implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act, particularly in meeting new deadlines to set the Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) needed to bring an end to overfishing and rebuild fish stocks.
“Together with the fishery management councils and fishermen around the country, we have taken great strides to end overfishing for all federally managed species in our country,” said Eric Schwaab, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator. “ In order to maintain our progress in the important work of rebuilding stocks and sustaining fisheries, we must continue to improve the science that forms the foundation for these efforts.”
Ending overfishing and rebuilding stocks is an ongoing scientific endeavor that requires constant improvements in observation, understanding and application. Different areas of the country face different challenges, but attendees agreed that providing the science needed to end overfishing and rebuild stocks takes collective efforts.
During the workshop, attendees discussed the need for improvement in a variety of areas, including increased standardization of the methods used, more frequent surveys to provide direct information on fish abundance, expanded use of cooperative research involving fishermen and collaborating institutions, and advances in application of new technologies.
“The focus on setting and adhering to Annual Catch Limits that was established through the 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act is placing even more emphasis on the strength of our science,” Schwaab added. “So bringing this group of scientists together last week represents another strong commitment on the part of NOAA to do everything possible to obtain the most accurate and timely data available to make critical management decisions.”
“I think the workshop was extremely valuable,” said Doug DeMaster, Acting chief scientist for NOAA Fisheries. “We are making much progress in staying the course with fishery management in our country, and we can sustain this progress through a strong science program, including the use of new technologies and techniques, so that everyone will benefit through healthier fish populations.”
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