Based on the results of stock assessments, NOAA Fisheries routinely updates the status of fish stocks managed under federal fishery management plans. Stock status determinations include:
- Subject to overfishing—a stock with a fishing mortality (harvest) rate that is higher than the rate that produces maximum sustainable yield (MSY)—the largest long-term average catch that can be taken from a stock under prevailing environmental and fishery conditions.
- Overfished—a stock with a biomass level depleted to a degree that the stock’s capacity to produce MSY is jeopardized.
- Rebuilt—a previously overfished stock that has increased in abundance to the target level that supports MSY.
These stock status determinations, in conjunction with results of the stock assessments, are used by the regional fishery management councils to recommend annual catch limits and other management measures for individual fish stocks.
NOAA Fisheries releases an annual Status of U.S. Fisheries report that outlines the progress we’re making to end and prevent overfishing and to rebuild fish stocks.