Sink Or Swim Time for U.S. Fishery Policy: Immediate Action Is Needed to Turn the Tide in Favor of Sustainability, But More Fundamental Changes Are Essential As Well. by Issues in Science and Technology

Sink Or Swim Time for U.S. Fishery Policy: Immediate Action Is Needed to Turn the Tide in Favor of Sustainability, But More Fundamental Changes Are Essential As Well.

By Issues in Science and Technology

  • Release Date: 2004-09-22
  • Category: Engineering

Brief Description

Marine species residing in U.S. territorial waters and the men and women who make their livelihood from them are at a critical juncture. Many species are overexploited and face additional threats from land-based pollution, habitat damage, and climate change. The U.S. government agency in charge of fishery management, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), reports that of the 259 major fish species, 43 have population levels below their biological targets and another 41 are being fished too hard. Still unknown is the extent to which our actions affect the nature of food webs and ecosystems, with consequences yet to be determined. The vessels and fishing power of many U.S. fisheries exceed levels that would maximize economic returns to society. Competition for fish leads to low wages, dangerous working conditions, and shorter and shorter fishing seasons. Short seasons with large catches, in turn, force fish processors to invest in facilities that can handle large quantities but run at partial capacity for most of the year, creating boom-and-bust cycles in local employment. With supply gluts, most fish are processed and frozen, even though consumers might prefer fresh fish throughout the year.

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