It's not a good time for seafood lovers, what with the Gulf of Mexico filling with bubbling crude, mercury- and bacteria-riddled marine life, and tuna populations being demolished by sashimi-crazed masses.
But there is some good news.
Last week the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Fisheries Services reported that Atlantic swordfish, Atlantic scup, Gulf of Maine thorny skate and Gulf of Mexico pink shrimp have been able to rebuild populations to a level that can sustain commercial fishing.
For the first time since 1997, the group didn't add any new marine species to its list of dangerously overfished species.
From the NOAA's website:
"By working with our regional fishery councils and commercial and recreational fishermen, we are getting closer every year to ending overfishing in our waters," said Eric Schwaab, NOAA assistant administrator for NOAA's Fisheries Service.In 1999 the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) established a program to rebuild Atlantic swordfish populations over the next decade. NOAA implemented the plan the following year, enforcing fishing bans and catch restrictions.
With prices soaring and lots of media coverage of the dwindling populations, swordfish vanished from many American menus after having been the trendy fish dish of the 1980s and early '90s. Which is what caused the problem in the first place.
The group announced earlier this year that Pacific swordfish had also returned to sustainable levels. In 2000 the organization had implemented similar restrictions.