Bigger Populations Needed for Sustainable Harvests

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Science  17 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5571, pp. 1229-1230
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5571.1229

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New England groundfish harvests--which include 14 bottom-dwelling species such as flounder, cod, hake, and haddock--have been inching back since a crash in the mid-1990s prompted an economically wrenching series of fishing restrictions. Some populations are now nearing targets set in 1999, but new findings issued by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in March suggest that existing targets may be too low and that more reasonable goals would limit fishing to ensure the mass of some stocks climbs higher than levels seen at any time in the last 40 years. Those findings could have a major impact on the livelihood of tens of thousands of people in the Northeast.