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NOAA releases report on U.S. fisheries

NOAA releases report on U.S. fisheries

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries for 2004.

For previously assessed stocks, the report shows the following changes: one stock has been fully rebuilt; six are no longer overfished; three stocks are no longer subject to overfishing; five stocks are now subject to overfishing; and three stocks are now overfished.

In 2004 overfished and/or overfishing determinations were made for 20 stocks and stock complexes whose status was previously unknown.

Overall, the report shows 144 stocks — or 72 percent of those with a known population status — are not overfished; and 192 stocks (81 percent) of those with a known fishing rate are not subject to overfishing.

“This year’s report shows progress for some stocks but also signals we have our work cut out for us,” said Bill Ho-garth, director of NOAA Fisheries Service. Hogarth has asked the Regional Fishery Management Councils to develop measures to reduce harvest rates for the stocks with a new overfishing status, and begin rebuilding those declared overfished. Some councils already have begun to take corrective action.

For the Status of Stocks Report to Congress go to

www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ sfa/reports.htm. For a fact sheet listing overfished/overfishing changes in 2004: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/mediacenter/docs/status_of_stocks_fact_sheet.pdf

Billfish tourney grants children’s wishes

MarineMax, the nation’s largest boating retailer, teamed with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant a 12-year-old cancer patient’s wish of a fishing trip when the company invited young Nathan and his family to attend the MarineMax-Hatteras Billfish Invitational in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas.

Money raised at that tournament has since helped grant the wishes of six more children with life-threatening medical conditions in southern Florida.

Over the course of the three-day fishing tournament in April, MarineMax and other sponsors hosted live and silent auctions and a poker tournament. They also locked Pete Woods, vice president of brokerage sales at MarineMax, in the “OK Corral” until money was donated to spring him from “the pokey.”

Collectively, the activities raised more than $30,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Other children’s wishes included trips to Disney World, family cruises, shopping sprees, new computers and meeting celebrities.

Next year’s MarineMax Billfish Invitational will take place April 26 through 29 at the Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour in Marsh Harbour, the Bahamas. Contact tournament director Shannon McCoy at shannon.mccoy@marinemax.com