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Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries 3 – Conference Recap

With some of the largest and most successful fisheries in the world, the United States is a model of responsible fisheries management. Our success is due to strong partnerships among the commercial and recreational fishing, conservation, and science and management communities.

The conference sessions at Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries 3 focused on the challenges facing our nation’s fisheries and a number of topics related to fisheries management, ecosystems, and communities.

Visit the conference page for more on the session themes and white papers from featured speakers.

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From May 7-9, commercial and recreational fishermen, policy makers, scientists, legislators, business leaders, and ocean advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., at Managing Our Nations Fisheries 3 to chart a course for the future sustainability of U. S. fisheries.

The conference plenary and keynote sessions were streamed online, and recordings will be posted on the conference website. Eric Schwaab’s keynote remarks from the opening plenary session are available now.

In the coming weeks, conference organizers will finalize the draft results of the conference. Please check the conference website periodically for information on the availability of those materials. Full conference proceedings are being prepared for release later in 2013.

Feature Stories


Status of Stocks 2012
The 2012 Annual Report on the Status of U.S. Fisheries highlights the progress that collectively, NOAA Fisheries, the regional fishery management councils, and our stakeholders have made to end overfishing and rebuild stocks. In 2012, as a result of the science-based management of U.S. fisheries, the status of our nation’s marine fish stocks continues to improve.  In 2012, six stocks were declared rebuilt in 2012—bringing the total number of rebuilt stocks to 32 since 2000. In general, in 2012 we increased the overall percentage of stocks not listed on the overfishing or overfished lists: ten stocks were removed from the overfishing list, and four stocks were removed from the overfished list. 



Healthy Habitat is Essential for U.S. Fisheries, A Message from Eric Schwaab, NOAA's Acting Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Management
While the federal fishery management system is effectively rebuilding fisheries and is a global model of science-based management, challenges and opportunities remain. One of the greatest we face is effectively implementing ecosystem-based fisheries management with an increasing emphasis on addressing threats like climate change and integrating habitat conservation principles into our collective management efforts. 


A Message About Habitat from Buck Sutter, Director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation
Seventeen years ago, Congress recognized that one of the greatest long-term threats to our nation’s commercial and recreational fisheries is the continuing loss of their habitats. At that time, they added a new tool to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act giving the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the fishery management councils a stronger voice in decisions that affect the habitats essential to our fisheries. Since then, NOAA and our partners have conserved nearly one billion acres of habitat essential to our valuable commercial and recreational fisheries. 


Recreational Fishing Year in Review 2012
NOAA recognizes the important role anglers play as stewards of our marine resources, contributors to our coastal economies, and in enriching the lives of millions of Americans. It is rewarding to see our relationships with the recreational fishing community improving as we move forward, working together. The many actions we have taken since 2010 under the Recreational Fisheries Engagement Initiative are making a difference, and as we report in this Recreational Fisheries Engagement Initiative 2012 Update, we continue to make progress. 


License to Krill: A Story About Ecosystem-Based Management
Antarctic krill are considered the greatest under-tapped biological resource in the ocean today. As humans increasingly turn to the oceans for food, we must be careful to not undermine the marine food chain. Ecosystem-based fishery management can help. Every year in the ocean around Antarctica, as the southern hemisphere tilts back toward the sun after the long darkness of winter, there is a great burst of biological activity. Tiny shrimp-like creatures called krill begin their annual spawn. Krill support a multitude of other species including penguins, seals, and whales, some of which migrate great distances each year to feed in the rich waters of the Southern Ocean.

Red Snapper Management: Past, Present, and Future
Although red snapper are recovering quickly in the Gulf of Mexico, the recreational fishing season keeps getting shorter. The 2013 federal season is projected to be the shortest ever at only 28 days and could be even shorter off those Gulf states that implement less restrictive regulations in their waters.  Many fishermen are frustrated with the increasingly restrictive management regime and the lack of cooperation between state and federal governments.  NOAA Fisheries recognizes new and innovative solutions are needed to manage the Gulf of Mexico recreational red snapper fishery.  


Catching Up With Catch Shares
Ralph Brown runs a 75-foot trawler, Little Joe, out of Brookings, Oregon. He fishes for pink shrimp, Dungeness crab, and groundfish, moving between the Oregon and Alaskan coastlines at different times of year. In 2011, the West Coast groundish fishery, which typically accounts for more than half of Brown’s gross, converted to a catch shares system of management. As a result, for both Ralph Brown’s business and for the groundfish he depends on, things are looking up.


Exploring U.S. Aquaculture                                                                             
Aquaculture—also known as fish or shellfish farming— refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments including ponds, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Researchers and aquaculture producers are "farming" all kinds of freshwater and marine species of fish, shellfish, and plants. Aquaculture produces food fish, sport fish, bait fish, ornamental fish, crustaceans, mollusks, algae, sea vegetables, and fish eggs. This kind of farming is the world’s fastest-growing form of food production and a vital component of our food supply. Aquaculture also supports commercial fisheries, enhances habitat and at-risk species, and maintains economic activity in coastal communities and at working waterfronts. 


Fisheries Economics of the United States 2011
The recent report, Fisheries Economics of the United States 2011, highlights that U.S.commercial and recreational fishing supported 1.7 million full and part-time jobs in fishing across the broader economy in 2011, and generated $199 billion in sales impacts and contributed $88 billion to Gross Domestic Product.





Stock Assessment 101: Part 1—Data Required for Assessing U.S. Fish Stocks
Why do we conduct fish stock assessments? NOAA Fisheries’ scientific stock assessments are key to fisheries management. They examine the effects of fishing and other factors to describe the past and current status of a fish stock, answer questions about the size of a fish stock, and make predictions about how a fish stock will respond to current and future management measure (Marine Fisheries Stock Assessment Improvement Plan). Fish stock assessments support sustainable fisheries by providing fisheries managers with the information necessary to make sound decisions. 

Stock Assessment 101: Part 2—A Closer Look at Stock Assessment Models
Three primary types of data used in fish stock assessments—catch, abundance, and biology data. These three types of data feed into mathematical models that represent the factors causing changes in harvested fish stocks. The models produce estimates of the fishery management factors needed for managers to make informed decisions about how to best regulate a fishery. When possible, stock assessment models include information on ecosystem and environmental effects to improve the interpretation of historical information and the precision of forecasts. 

U.S. Fisheries Reach Another Milestone as Last Annual Catch Limit is Put in Place
On June 29, 2012, a significant milestone was achieved when NOAA Fisheries approved the last Fishery Management Plan amendment putting annual catch limits and accountability measures into place. This milestone completes a journey that began in January 2007, when President George W. Bush signed the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act into law. The law required that all federal fisheries be harvested under annual catch limits with accompanying accountability measures to prevent and end overfishing in the United States