Scientists readily concede that there are many reasons why the observed quantities of the fish in the Gulf of Maine may vary. That the waters there are warming at a much faster rate than those elsewhere is proven science. It is also well known that all animals – including marine organisms – experience natural cycles, often called a “predator-prey” model. Biological tests have also shown fish move throughout the ocean for their own, still not fully understood reasons.
So why does Fisheries Management assign a label of “overfished” to species that are observed to have fewer quantities during a particular random survey? That is, are the stocks really “overfished” or are they being eaten by more invasive species, or just moving somewhere else?
Using the label “overfished” implies that fishing is the only behavior impacting stock observations and that ceasing fishing is the only solution.
Until we replace this label with something more descriptive and less prejudicial rational discussion – and more importantly, effective fisheries management – will not be possible.