PHOTO BY ONNE VAN DER WAL
It’s the ultimate dilemma. We need to preserve our fish stocks at the same time as we want to fish them. Balance between angler and management is crucial, three leading stakeholders in saltwater fisheries management agree, but each have different takes on how to achieve access, conservation, and sustainability
A Federal Fisheries Management Catastrophe
up on decades of work in the remaining time. If the past is any
indication, the agency will continue to manage fisheries by abrupt
closure. Now is the time to look to reallocation, better data,
and vision in management. The role of recreational angling has
always been one of stewardship and conservation. It is time for
management to build that future, and not simply reflect the past.
End Overfishing To Preserve Recreational Fishing
By Lee Crockett, Pew Environment Group
My love for the ocean began when I joined the Coast Guard
at 18 — a passion that led me to study marine science and to my
current fisheries conservation work at Pew. I love to go fishing.
The more fish there are, the better fisherman I become. So, the
goal of my work is to increase the number of fish in the water and
in turn enhance recreational and commercial fishing opportunities
for all. But in order to effectively rebuild severely depleted fish
populations, we need to base our policy decisions on science, not
We’re simply taking many fish from the ocean faster than
they can reproduce. In the United States, nearly one-quarter of our
commercially and recreationally important ocean fish — including snappers and groupers — are subject to overfishing and, as
a result, seriously depleted. In New England, for example, recent
federal assessments found that 13 of 19 groundfish populations,
including iconic species such as cod, are subject to overfishing.
This has real-world consequences.
According to the National Marine Fisheries Service the economic value of rebuilding all of our depleted U.S. fisheries would
mean up to $31 billion in sales and support for 500,000 new jobs.
But to achieve these benefits, we must set firm catch limits, based
on science, and enforce those restrictions. Establishing and enforcing catch limits may be burdensome in the short-term but anglers
will reap the benefits of rebuilding depleted fish populations for
decades to come.