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Status of Stocks

Winter flounder in eelgrass habitat.

Overfishing is when the rate of removal from a stock is too high. A priority for the United States is ending overfishing so that all stocks can rebuild and be sustained at rebuilt levels.

Overfished is when the population is too low, or below a prescribed threshold. A population can be overfished but be managed under a rebuilding plan that over time returns the population to health.

Rebuilt is when a stock has increased to its target population level after falling below the critical overfished level.


Which Stocks have been Declared Rebuilt?

Northeast Region
Gulf of Maine Haddock

Mid-Atlantic Region
Summer Flounder

Northwest Region
Widow Rockfish
Chinook Salmon
Coho Salmon

Alaska Region
Bering Sea Snow Crab

May 14, 2012

Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries releases the 15th Annual Report to Congress on the Status of the Nation’s Fisheries. This report documents our national journey toward ending overfishing and rebuilding the nation’s fisheries.

About the Report 

Since 1997, this annual report to Congress identifies the status of our managed stocks and complexes. It provides a ‘snap-shot’ in time of where our nation’s fisheries were at the end of 2011 in relation to their thresholds of overfishing and overfished. This report does not capture the dynamic nature of sustainability and the many factors that may influence a fishery and require harvests to be adjusted. The strength of the U.S. science-based model for managing fisheries relies on stock assessments to monitor populations and a management system that adjusts harvest levels accordingly. It is this iterative process between science and management that for years has worked in many fisheries around the country.

Leadership Message from NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator 
Status of Stocks Report
Four Page Report Summary
Quarterly and Annual Reports
Domestic Fisheries Division
News Release
Previous Year's Information

Sustainable Fisheries - Jobs and the Economy

Fisheries, whether for commercial sale or recreation, play an enormous role in the U.S. economy. Fish processing, restaurants, grocery stores, sales of tackle and gas, icehouses, and a multitude of other businesses are involved with the seafood and fishing supply chain, generating $183 billion per year to the U.S. economy and more than 1.5 million full and part-time jobs.

“Fishermen, fishing communities and seafood businesses are investing in the solutions that are helping end overfishing and rebuild our nations fish populations ...These investments will continue to pay off and provide more economic opportunity and economic stability for industry in the future.”

- Samuel Rauch, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator  (Acting)

By the Numbers – 2011 Status of Stocks

Under the current science-based management of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the assessments of 2011 continue to show the majority of our nation’s fisheries are at sustainable levels and that management measures are effectively preventing, monitoring, and responding to overfishing when it is found to occur.  


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