US Fisheries: Status, Long-Term Potential Yields, and Stock Management Ideas

By Sissenwine, Michael P.; Rosenberg, Andrew A. | Oceanus, Summer 1993 | Go to article overview

US Fisheries: Status, Long-Term Potential Yields, and Stock Management Ideas


Sissenwine, Michael P., Rosenberg, Andrew A., Oceanus


Coastal waters support the world's richest fisheries, with 95 percent of the worldwide catch taken within 200 miles of shore. These fisheries account for more animal protein for human consumption than poultry, lamb, or beef. Fishing is also a valuable form of recreation. The worldwide number of marine recreational anglers is unknown, but there are about 17 million in the US alone.

Today fisheries are beset by problems that threaten the many benefits they provide. Marine fishery resources were once believed to be virtually inexhaustible. It is now clear that these resources are vulnerable to an overabun-dance of fishing vessels and fishermen, who are catching too many fish.

The worldwide fishery catch, including finfish and shellfish, has rather steadily for more than three decades. But most experts believe the recent leveling off of catch indicates that fisheries are now fully or overutilized, and producing near the global maximum sustainable yield. Along with the increase in catch, there has been a shift in the catch proportions from developed (wealthier) to developing (poorer) countries: Developing countries now account for more than half the worldwide catch.

Although fisheries worldwide are collectively harvesting the approximate maximum sustainable yield, many individual fisheries are declining or depleted, particularly in the North Atlantic. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization describes about one-third of the fisheries it tracks as heavily exploited, overexploited, or depleted. It also estimates that fishing costs exceed revenues by $16 billion annually, or 20 percent--that is, fisheries are losing money. The deficit, which is probably offset by government subsidies, occurs because the harvesting capacity (or number of fishing vessels) exceeds the available fishery resource. This situation is known as overcapitalization, and is an expected consequence of unregulated participation in fisheries (anyone who wants to fish, can). Today most fisheries are overcapitalized. Even when the total catch amount is controlled, the incentive exists for more and bigger vessels to race for the limited amount of fish, until fishing is no longer a wise investment.

US Fisheries: An Historical Perspective

Fishing is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of US industries. The first European visitors to North America were attracted by abundant coastal fishery resources. Fish were important to the Pilgrims in 1620 when they landed on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In addition to his other accomplishments, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson reported to the first session of Congress in 1791 "...on the subject of the Fisheries of the United States." And a thriving marine science community was born in 1885 when Spencer Baird established the world's oldest fisheries research laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Throughout most of history, marine fisheries have been essentially unmanaged, with the exception of a few regulations on fishing seasons, areas, or size limits. It was not until the 1960s, when large factory trawlers from Europe and Asia began fishing off US coasts, that the fishing industry and the public recognized that more regulation, or "fisheries management," was necessary. In 1977, the US extended its jurisdiction over fishery resources from 12 to 200 miles off shore. The law that extended fisheries management, known as the "Magnuson Act" (for Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington state), established eight regional Fishery Management Councils to formulate Fishery Management Plans to be implemented by the Department of Commerce's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The act's purpose was to end overfishing, which was primarily blamed on foreign vessels, and to encourage US fisheries to expand and replace foreign fisheries. Congress is now considering reauthorization of the act, which expires this year. It is timely to consider the US fisheries status. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

US Fisheries: Status, Long-Term Potential Yields, and Stock Management Ideas
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.