Status of the Stocks: Record-Low Number of Stocks on Overfishing List in 2023


Ongoing positive trends continued into last year.

In a report released today, NOAA Fisheries announced that 2023 saw a record low for the number of fish stocks subject to overfishing. The annual Status of the Stocks report is an assessment of the 506 stocks and stock complexes managed by NOAA Fisheries, and provides a look at the overall health of fisheries in the U.S. Maintaining sustainable fisheries contributes significantly to the U.S. economy, provides important recreational opportunities and helps meet the growing challenge of increasing our nation’s seafood supply.

In 2023, U.S. fisheries data revealed that 94% of stocks are not subject to overfishing and 82% are not overfished. These numbers show slight improvements compared to the 2022 figures of 93% and 81%, respectively. Ongoing positive trends continued with the number of stocks on the overfishing list decreasing by three stocks, reaching an all-time low of 21 stocks, and the number of stocks on the overfished list decreasing by one stock, to 47. Since 2000, NOAA Fisheries has rebuilt 50 stocks.

Image showing that of the more than 506 stocks and stock complexes managed by NOAA, 364 have a known overfishing status (343 not subject to overfishing and 21 subject to overfishing) and 263 have a known overfished status (216 not overfished and 47 overfished).

“By ending overfishing and rebuilding stocks, we are strengthening the value of U.S. fisheries to the economy, our communities and marine ecosystems,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “Sustainably managed fisheries are important to the nation’s economy, and provide opportunities for commercial, recreational and subsistence fishing, while keeping a renewable supply of seafood for consumers.”

NOAA Fisheries recently released the Fisheries Economics of the United States report for 2022. The latest data shows U.S. commercial and recreational fishing supported 2.3 million jobs and generated $321 billion in sales across the broader economy in 2022. The U.S. commercial fishing and seafood industry, as well as recreational fishing, continue to have a broad, positive impact on the economy.

“Managing fisheries sustainably is an adaptive process that relies on sound science, innovative management approaches, effective enforcement and meaningful partnerships with robust public participation,” said NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Janet Coit.