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Seafood stocks shore up

Studies show a correlation between fish stock and industry health, jobs and revenues

Sustainability and more hands on deck were the topics of choice when NOAA Fisheries released both its “Status of the Stocks” (SOS) and “Fisheries Economics of the United States” reports to Congress earlier this month.

“Managing fisheries sustainably is an adaptive process that relies on sound science, innovative management approaches, effective enforcement, meaningful partnerships, and robust public participation,” reads the SOS report. The study stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy balance in the waters.

Currently, the numbers of stocks on both the overfishing and overfished lists are at all-time lows.

Only 9% of known stocks are subject to overfishing, and only 16% of those stocks are presently overfished.

“The Status of the Stocks report continues to illustrate the benefits of a world class sustainability oversight system based on science,” John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute, said in a statement.

The U.S. commercial and recreational saltwater fishing sectors generated $208 billion in sales and sustained 1.6 million jobs in 2015. The report credited the efforts to end overfishing and build up stocks as the catalyst for the positive numbers.

The tie between employed marine workers and cash flow were highlighted in the Fisheries Economics report.

The study shows that jobs in the industry nearly hit 1.4 million in 2014, but tilted downward to about 1.2 million in 2015. Revenues followed suit, and dropped from about $5.5 billion to just under $5.2 billion over the same stretch of time.

The year 2013 fielded nearly the same amount of jobs as 2014 and produced even higher revenues, with about $5.6 billion being generated by the marine economy that year.

“The report shows the importance of jobs in the seafood supply chain, from harvesters to processors, to wholesalers and distributors right through to retail and restaurants,” Connelly said in his statement.

“A continued emphasis on science-based management, sound business practices and responsible regulation will generate encouraging reports like today’s, for years to come,” he added.

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