Forty years ago, due to destructive overfishing, US fisheries were in shambles. In 1976 Congress passed the Magnuson-Stevens Act, utilizing the best available science, managing our fisheries to:
- Prevent overfishing
- Rebuild overfished stocks
- Increase long-term economic and social benefits
- Ensure a safe and sustainable supply of seafood
Draconian quotas and even full closures caused havoc in our traditional fishing communities. The number of groundfish boats in New England plummeted from more than 1,000 to 344. But the good news is that modern fisheries management works, as America’s wild fisheries are now the world’s best, and this year we celebrate our 40th rebuilt stock—Barndoor Skate.
Fisheries management science is very difficult, as it is very hard to count fish. Technology has improved dramatically over recent decades, and scientists are better able to understand ocean ecosystems. The result is that with growing fish populations, long suffering fishermen are beginning to see the light of day, and for the first time in decades young people are looking to fishing for their livelihood. These men and women deserve our support.
The fall season brings great fishing all around the country. Stone crab season begins in Florida this week. In spite of all the horrendous weather, the boys in Beaufort, NC are landing all kind of species. From Crisfield, MD to Point Pleasant, NJ to Montauk, NY, fishermen are smiling. And New England groundfish catches are picking up.
Crustaceans are catching the spotlight on the west coast. California spiny lobster season is now open, and we expect ridgeback shrimp this week. Dungeness crab begin in November. As the weather turns cold in Alaska, we begin to see side-stripe shrimp, coon-stripe shrimp and spot prawns, as well as their massive distant cousin the Red King Crab. Alaska’s Halibut season will close on Nov 7th, and as boats change gear to pot traps we will see beautiful, sustainable Pacific Cod.
All the best,
from the Dimin Family and the Sea to Table team