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California Fishery Threatened by Overfishing

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

A new study shows the Pacific Ocean off California is severely over-fished. The federal government is now drafting new rules that will govern how much fishing is allowed off the coast in the future. KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce has more.

Environment California's report shows that about 10% of the fish off the Pacific Coast are overfished. That means a fish species has been reduced to below 25% of its original population.

The group says that directly threatens marine ecosystems.
The author of the study is Mike Gravitz.  He says nearly three-quarters of coastal fish stocks aren't studied enough and inadequate study makes for bad planning.
Gravitz: We really do need to make progress on the 70% that we really don't know anything about. But in the meantime we need to manage them conservatively and be careful and precautionary in our treatment of them so that we don't destroy them without understanding what's going on.
He says one west coast species at risk is rockfish, which is now a tiny fraction of its historic population. Gravitz says he's hopeful new federal fish management rules will help restore depleted fish stocks and prevent others from being damaged.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

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