Tuesday May 7, 2024

Seafood Source

AU.S. district court has ruled that NOAA Fisheries’ plan for rebuilding sardine populations along the West Coast is unlawful, ordering the agency to develop a new plan.

Conservation group Oceana, represented by Earthjustice, first sued NOAA Fisheries in 2021 after it become clear Pacific sardine populations had collapsed despite the government’s rebuilding plan. From 2006 to 2020, the population dropped by more than 98 percent, according to Oceana. In 2019, NOAA Fisheries placed Pacific sardines on its overfished list.

NOAA Fisheries adopted a management plan to rebuild the population, but Oceana claimed that the plan kept the current management measures in place and ignored its own science.

“The Fisheries Service’s repeated endorsement of an inadequate rebuilding plan based on status quo measures was mind-bogglingly shortsighted and not only ignored its own scientists but also failed to learn the lessons of history,” Oceana Senior Scientist and California Campaign Director Geoff Shester said.

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