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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The U.S. Revolutionizes Its Fishing Policy

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Atlantic bluefish.
  • Atlantic bluefish.

The United States may have a reputation for being an ecological scofflaw, refusing to sign global carbon-emissions agreements and selling GM crops to farmers ill equipped to pay for copyright-protected seeds, but when it comes to managing fish populations, this country has just defined a new gold standard. According to the Wall Street Journal, this year the United States has set catch limits for every one of the 528 species the federal government manages, from Alaskan salmon to Gulf snapper.

Putting strict catch levels -- or even temporary bans -- on major fish species may have harmed local economies in the short term, but the strategy seems to be paying off. Population after population has rebounded thanks to the government's oversight. Mid-Atlantic bluefish and Pacific sardines, for example, are no longer in danger of disappearing from the oceans. The Bush administration is responsible for introducing the policy, and the Obama administration carried through with it. Now, says the Journal, Europe's considering the same approach. 

That's not a story you hear very often.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman


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