NOAA Fisheries has released the 2018 Status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress. The report shows continued positive progress with 91 percent of U.S. stocks not subject to overfishing and 82 percent of stocks not overfished. Additionally, one stock–Gulf of Maine smooth skate–was rebuilt, bringing the total number of stocks rebuilt since 2000 to 45.
At the end of 2018, the overfishing list included 28 stocks and the overfished list included 43 stocks. Gulf of Maine smooth skate was rebuilt in 2018, and the total number of stocks rebuilt since 2000 has increased to 45. NOAA Fisheries tracks 479 stocks or stock complexes in 46 fishery management plans. Each year, assessments of various fish stocks and stock complexes are conducted to determine their status. These assessments include stocks of both known status and previously unknown status. Based on assessments conducted by the end of 2018, seven stocks were removed from the overfishing list and five were added, one of whose status was previously unknown. The additions are the result of stock assessments or data showing catch was too high. Eight stocks were added to the overfished list, one of whose status was previously unknown. These results indicate population sizes were too low. Many of the stocks added to the overfishing and overfished list have been impacted by environmental factors or international harvest that the United States has limited ability to control. As required by the MSA management framework, the councils are developing management measures to end overfishing and rebuild all stocks added to the overfishing and overfished lists. Specific changes to the status of stocks in 2018 include: