Federal regulators have reported a record number of rebuilt fish populations in the United States, but many of the remaining overfished populations are in New England.
In its annual report to Congress Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said six fish populations returned to healthy levels in 2011. NOAA said 27 fish populations have now been rebuilt in the last 11 years.
According to NOAA, 45 of 219 fish populations in U.S. waters are now considered overfished. But 13 of those stocks are in New England — the most of any region.
"If you look at the track record in this region over the last decade or so, you’d find some very positive movement in rebuilding stocks," George Darcy, NOAA's assistant regional director for sustainable fisheries, told WBUR's Curt Nickisch for our Newscast. "But we do still have some challenges ahead of us."
As the Associated Press reports:
The industry [in New England] is absorbing recent, severe cuts brought on by problems with the populations of cod in the Gulf of Maine and yellowtail flounder in Georges Bank.
In early April, for example, federal officials enacted a 22 percent cut in the region's cod catch.
In its release, NOAA cited catch limits and "the continued commitment of fishermen to rebuild the stocks" for the healthier fish populations.
Also in April, we reported on some area fishermen feeling the squeeze, in part due to the catch-share system. That followed our earlier report last year, which found Gloucester fishermen — especially smaller vessels — trying to adapt to the quota system.
This article was originally published on May 14, 2012.
This program aired on May 14, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.