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NOAA image of blue tang fish.Sept. 1, 2005 NOAA released its annual Report to Congress on the "Status of U.S. Fisheries for 2004." For previously assessed stocks, the report shows the following changes: one stock has been fully rebuilt; six are no longer overfished; three stocks are no longer subject to overfishing; five stocks are now subject to overfishing; and three stocks are now overfished. In 2004, overfished and/or overfishing determinations were made for twenty stocks and stock complexes whose status was previously unknown. (Click NOAA image for larger view of blue tang fish. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

Overall, the report shows 144 stocks—or 72 percent of those with a known population status—are not overfished, and 192 stocks—or 81 percent of those with a known fishing rate—are not subject to overfishing.

"This year's report shows progress for some stocks but also signals we have our work cut out for us," said Bill Hogarth, director of NOAA Fisheries Service. "We're taking action to address issues raised in this year's report." Hogarth has asked the Regional Fishery Management Councils to develop measures to reduce harvest rates for the stocks with a new overfishing status and begin rebuilding those declared overfished. Some Councils already have begun to take corrective action.

The NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving the nation's living marine resources and their habitats through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA Status of Stocks Report to Congress

NOAA Fact Sheet Listing Overfished/Overfishing Changes in 2004 (PDF)

Media Contact:
Susan Buchanan, NOAA Fisheries Service, (301) 713-2370