Many commercial fishing stocks off the U.S. coast that were depleted by decades of overfishing are returning after a 1996 law ordered catch limits in a series of “painful but necessary steps to sustain and rebuild populations,” a newly released analysis on fish populations says.
The analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council shows that 64 percent of fish stocks — 28 of 44 species — have been designated rebuilt or met their rebuilding targets or have made significant rebuilding progress.
Eight others showed limited rebuilding progress, either recovering to at least 50 percent of the rebuilding target or increasing at least 25 percent in abundance since the rebuilding plan began. Eight other species showed no rebuilding progress, the study showed, with six of those eight species being native to New England.
New England, the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico are still areas of concern since significant portions of stocks show a lack of rebuilding progress, the study showed. Mid-Atlantic fish stocks reported the most progress.