Thirty years ago, scientists discovered fishermen were catching black sea bass faster than the fish could reproduce. Continued overfishing drove the species to dangerously low levels in U.S. South Atlantic waters. The problem persisted because of lax rules that delayed protections. But the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act’s recent requirements for prompt action finally helped this species recover.
A scientific study released in April 2013 found the South Atlantic black sea bass population was rebuilt more than three years earlier than expected. Not only did the total number of fish increase, but the average size and amount of fish caught also improved. The next chapter in this success story must include science-based efforts to ensure that black seas bass populations—and coastal communities that rely on them—remain strong.
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