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Weekly Overview: US Fisheries Reports Show Improvements in Stock Health and the Fishing Economy

Health Tuna Sustainability +7 more

ANALYSIS - In this week's news, a new US fisheries economics report from NOAA has revealed that commercial and recreational saltwater fishing generated more than $199 billion in sales in 2012, a gain of seven per cent over the previous year, with the economic impact of fishing jobs increasing three per cent from 2011 to 2012, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.

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Further, two more fish stocks were rebuilt to target levels in 2013, bringing the number of rebuilt US marine fish stocks to 34 since 2000, according to another new NOAA Fisheries report.

Taken together, the two reports, Fisheries Economics of the United States 2012 and the Status of US Fisheries 2013, show positive trends in the steady rebuilding of the country’s federally managed fisheries off its coasts, and the important role fisheries contribute to the United States economy.

Friday 2 May marked World Tuna Day. To mark the work being done to try and re-build tuna populations, TheFishSite reported on a new project which will help local fishery managers track and manage the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD's) in the Central and Western Pacific skipjack tuna fishery through satellite technology.

The Pew Charitable Trusts project will work with the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) fishermen, requiring them to start reporting FAD data to managers/scientists so that better management plans can be created.

A new Norwegian study is evaluating the potential for Norway to develop its own sustainable seafood certification.

“Our study shows that alternative third-party certification is accepted by the market. We believe that the establishment of a Norwegian sustainability programme can give new opportunities. There may be, however, challenges associated with choosing not to use the Marine Stewardship Council system,” said scientist Bjørg Nøstvold from Nofima.

“The advantage of MSC is that it is internationally recognised and well-established in many of our most important markets. A Norwegian national programme would have to repeat everything right from the start. Time, cost and efficient planning are therefore key concepts when considering whether to establish a national strategy,” continued Mr Nøstvold.

The wish to establish national strategy, however, may be sufficiently strong to evaluate its advantages.

“A national strategy would give greater control of price, partly due to the lower operating costs that arise when it is possible to avoid the use of a consumer-facing logo. The supermarket chains say that the consumers are not particularly concerned about a logo, and prefer to rely on the decisions taken by the merchant or supermarket. And research supports this conclusion. Further, while it is true that our investigations have revealed a price premium in British supermarkets for the MSC label, there are no indications that this premium is carried onwards along the chain of value,” concluded Mr Nøstvold.