Coastwide
via NOAA Fisheries

USA - America's Fisheries Management Has Been a Success. Now That's Under Threat.

When you take the “science” out of fisheries science, things can go downhill very, very quickly.

Americans can be proud of their fishery management system over the past few decades, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, where one of the world's single-largest stocks of fish, Alaska pollock, is harvested, bringing in some $2 billion (€1.7 billion) and tens of thousands of jobs.

It's an incredible case study in how science and policy can combat poor regulation and lead to a full recovery of threatened stocks and improved management through meticulous science and shared commitment.

One example: If you’ve been on an Alaska pollock fishing vessel, you have seen the exhaustive monitoring systems that go into keeping track of salmon bycatch. Despite trawl nets that can bring up 200,000 fish in the space of an hour, each of the catcher processors plying the waters can -- and by most accounts do -- keep track of individual salmon that are caught to mitigate the impact on those threatened fish.

That kind of investment does not happen without the voluntary participation of fishing companies that are committed to science-based fisheries management.

One hundred-percent observer coverage, directed surveys by researchers, ear bone analysis, on and on -- it's complex stuff (See if you can understand this chart. You probably can't. Now try this one.)

When you take the “science” out of fisheries science, things can go downhill very, very quickly.

But as with many things Trumpian, there continues to be a creep of politics and anti-science sentiment into so many government agencies.

The most recent baffling move came this week with the appointment of notorious climate change denier David Legates of the University of Delaware to the role of deputy assistant secretary of commerce for observation and prediction at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Read more.