Green Business: NOAA Fisheries’ Congressional Cod Report

NOAA Fisheries officials presented 2012 first quarter data on the status of U.S. fish stocks to Congress May 15.

Read the 2012 Status of U.S. Fisheries report.

Coverage of the congressional report comes via

NOAA sustainability reports shows new gains

By Richard Gaines Staff Writer

NOAA made its annual report Monday to Congress on the status of the nation’s fish stocks, and noted that, in 2011 the so-called Fish Stock Sustainability Index — a kind of Dow Jones Industrial Average for 230 key fish stocks — continued improving for the 11th straight year.

The good news on top  is that progress is being made toward ending overfishing and rebuilding fish stocks, “due to the commitment of fishermen, fishing communities, nongovernment organizations, scientists and managers.”

Well enough.

But good enough, and more importantly, fast enough?

Probably not.

Here’s where things stand today with 2011 cod catch limits, and the forecast for next year:

Based on the 2011 assessment, the catch limit on Gulf of Maine cod for the 2012 fishing year that started May 1 is set at 22 percent lower than it was in 2011. But far more drastic cutbacks are expected from NOAA beginning May 1, 2013. The 22 percent cut is considered an interim measure.

It’s hard to stay positive about real, incremental positive improvement in recreational and commercial inshore stocks when offshore draggers are scraping the bottom of the Stellwagen Bank ocean clean of  fish. Read more on this.

How are these major commercial fishing operations getting away with this? By exploiting weaknesses in the Catch Share program rules. Read an article on some ways that draggers may be beating the rules.

It’s a very very complicated issue.

But at the end of the day, once the vastly diminished cod stocks are gone, they’re gone.

Ciao Cod.

Related article: If We Eat All the Fish, Whose Tragedy Is it?