U.S. is Now First Nation to Limit Catch Size for All Fish

Many of our fish species in the world are being fished into oblivion. But to kick off the new year the United States has, for the first time, moved to impose catch limits for every species it manages, from Alaskan pollock to Caribbean queen conch. The U.S. hasn't led on an environmental issue in a long time lagging behind it's European counterparts on anything from climate change to alternative energy options. But this U.S. effort will have a long term impact on all fish stock that it oversees.

What this means specifically is that this the first law that establishes mandatory catch limits for impacted species. There are over 528 commercially fished species that the U.S. oversees that will have distinct catch limits that prohibit overfishing and protect stocks that are rapidly being depleted. Recently a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers joined environmental groups, fishing interests and scientists to insert language in the law requiring each fishery to have annual catch limits in place by the end of 2011 to end overfishing.

Not everyone in the fishing industry was happy about this and a few fisheries did end up missing the deadline at the end of 2011. But all will comply in 2012 and there will be catch limits for all managed fish species by the end of the year. What is exciting about this new legislation is that it has also encouraged European nations to consider instituting similar catch limits to ward off the demise of their ailing fisheries. If we are to stop the global decline in fish stocks around the world, more efforts like the U.S. initiative will be needed in the very near future.

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