More Good News for West Coast Groundfish!

F/V Pioneer unloading rockfish in Monterey. (Photo Credit: Corey Arnold)

F/V Pioneer unloading rockfish in Monterey. (Photo Credit: Corey Arnold)

December 19, 2017

Now restaurants and markets can proudly feature three more delicious groundfish on their menus.  This month the National Marine Fisheries Service  announced that Pacific ocean perch have recovered, 34 years ahead of projected schedule! This species joins bocaccio and darkblotched rockfish, which were declared recovered earlier this year.  Our local fishermen and women have made this possible by changing where and how they fish and by sharing their knowledge and data with the science community.

These three species of rockfish have been added to the list of West Coast groundfish that are a resounding success story. Groundfish is a collective term for species that live on or near the bottom of the ocean. These include numerous species of rockfish,  sablefish (black cod), petrale sole, and sanddabs to name a few of the most popular ones. Between 1999 and 2002, ten West Coast groundfish stocks were declared overfished.  Thanks to collaboration between fishermen, scientists, and non-profits, eight of the ten overfished groundfish species have gone from seriously imperiled to healthy and abundant in a far shorter time than expected. For some species, it’s a full 40 years sooner than projected!

*Updated 9.18.19.  Full press release.

*Updated 9.18.19. Full press release.

“People aren’t aware of the commitment and investments that local fishermen have made in recent years – investments that led to the recovery of these fish stocks,” said Steve Scheiblauer, recently retired harbormaster at the City of Monterey, and Board Chair of the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust. “Now as a community we need to support these fishermen by asking for, and buying, local sustainable groundfish.”

To learn about sustainable seafood options, visit Seafood Watch.

Read the NMFS press release here.

Sherry Flumerfelt