NOAA Releases 2014 Status of Stocks Report

Bluefin, photo/NOAA
Bluefin, photo/NOAA

NOAA Fisheries has released its 2014 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries. One of the highlights: The number of stocks listed as subject to overfishing or overfished continues to decline, and is at an all-time low.

According to the report, by the end of 2014, 26 stocks nationwide were on the “overfishing” list and 37 stocks were on the “overfished” list. Both lists are at all-time lows. The number of stocks rebuilt since 2000 increased to 37.

NOAA Fisheries tracks 469 managed stocks and stock complexes in 46 fishery management plans (FMPs). In 2014, six stocks were removed from the overfishing list and 4 were added. Two stocks were removed from the overfished list, and no new ones were added. Of the 41 stocks listed as subject to overfishing in 2007, only 10 domestic and 4 international stocks are still on the overfishing list.

Here in New England, haddock was removed from the “overfishing” list, meaning that the stock was not being overfished in 2014. Butterfish were listed as “rebuilt.”

See the complete report


“Overfishing” is a direct result of human-based fishing activities. If fishing is allowed to continue at the current rate, the stock could become “overfished.”

A stock that’s determined to be “overfished” has a population size that has fallen to the point where it jeopardizes the stock’s ability to produce its maximum sustainable yield (MSY). An “overfished” stock can be the result of many factors, including commercial and recreational fishing, habitat degradation, pollution, climate change, and disease. While overfishing is sometimes the main cause of an overfished stock, these other factors can also play a role and may affect the stock’s ability to rebuild.

A “rebuilt” stock is one that was previously overfished and that has increased in abundance to the target population size that supports its MSY.

NE Stock Status at a Glance

The following is a list of New England fish stocks that were overfished and/or were being overfished in 2014.

OF = Overfished

OFO = Overfishing is occurring

OFOFO Atlantic cod (Georges Bank)
OFOFO Atlantic cod (Gulf of Maine)
OFOFO Windowpane (Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank)
OFOFO Witch flounder
OFOFO Yellowtail flounder (Cape Cod/Gulf of Maine)
OFOFO Thorny skate (Gulf of Maine)
OF Atlantic halibut
OF Atlantic salmon
OF Atlantic wolffish
OF Ocean pout
OF Winter flounder (Southern New England)
OFO Winter skate (Georges Bank/Southern New England)

Highly Migratory Species:

OFOFO (Blacknose shark – Atlantic)
OFOFO (Blue marlin – Atlantic)
OFOFO (Dusky shark – Atlantic)
OF OFO (White marlin – Atlantic)
OFOFO Scalloped hammerhead (Atlantic)

OF  Porbeagle shark (Atlantic)

OF Sandbar shark (Atlantic)

OF Bluefin tuna (Western Atlantic)

OFO West Atlantic Sailfish (West Atlantic)