On the heels of the World Wildlife Fund’s report on the global decline of biodiversity, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a report yesterday that shows a comeback of certain fish species. The NOAA report shows when good policies are in place; natural ecosystems can sustain themselves and thrive. NOAA has released its annual report, stating that a record six fish population has been rebuilt to healthy levels in 2011. This brings the number of rebuilt US marine fish populations to 27 since the start of the 21st century, showing that great strides have been made to end overfishing. The six fish populations that were restored are:
– Atlantic coast summer flounder
– Gulf of Maine haddock
– Northern California coast Chinook salmon
– Washington coast coho salmon
– Pacific coast widow rockfish
NOAA indicated in their report that overfishing is not the only factor that holds down fish populations. There are also environmental factors, disease, invasive species, and degraded fish habitat. Many of these may be indirectly attributable to a changing climate, which affects temperature, salinity, and potentially the spread of pathogens. NOAA researchers predict that fully rebuilt fisheries could add over $30 billion to the economy and add 500,000 new jobs. At the moment, commercial and recreational fishing generates $183 billion per year and supports over 1.5 million full and part-time jobs.