Today the North Pacific Fishery Management Council noted the low numbers of Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska and that there are too few cod remaining to open a federal cod fishery next year. A healthy Pacific cod population is crucial for sustainable fisheries and are important prey for Steller sea lions. The National Marine Fisheries Service is obligated to ensure that the fisheries don’t impede recovery of the endangered Steller sea lion population and federal regulations require closing Pacific cod fisheries when cod stock fall below critical thresholds.
Jon Warrenchuk, Oceana Senior Scientist and Campaign Manager released this statement:
“Responsible fisheries management requires closing fisheries when there’s not enough fish. Steller sea lions, Pacific cod and many other species have struggled during recent ocean heat wave conditions in the Gulf of Alaska. Our only available emergency response is to put limits on the fisheries. We need to take actions now to address climate change and its impacts on our oceans and fisheries; otherwise species declines and fisheries closures will tragically become less of an exception and more our everyday reality.”
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 200 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that one billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit https://usa.oceana.org/ to learn more.