Sunken Millions: The Hidden Cost of Overfishing to Commercial Fishermen

Jul 25, 2011
  • Description

In 2009, commercial fishermen in the New England, South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions that targeted depleted ocean fish populations lost $164.2 million and realized just 25 percent of potential revenues because of decades of overfishing – catching fish faster than they can reproduce (for full analysis, see www.pewenvironment.org/costofoverfishing). This additional income could have been earned had these fish populations not been subject to years of overfishing that resulted in their current depleted condition. Congress recognized this costly legacy of overfishing in 2006 when it strengthened the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) with bipartisan requirements to establish science-based catch limits to end overfishing and rebuild depleted fish populations. Congress should stay the course with the MSA so that we can restore our nation's fish populations to healthy levels and put those dollars back in fishermen's wallets.