Fisheries are being transformed with the arrival of the first navesins in more than a century, and the result is a thriving community of marine creatures that live off the land.
A recent report from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows the marine economy of the U.S. has grown to $2.7 trillion, or about $8,000 per capita, from about $4 billion in 2008.
The study notes that the increase in the commercial fishing industry in recent years has created an opportunity for the marine environment to improve and diversify.
“We are seeing more and more fish species that are able to survive on the ocean floor and that are good for people, such as fish, shrimp, oysters, and cod,” said Kevin D. Miller, director of the Pew Marine Conservation Lab and a marine ecologist.
For the most part, the fish industry has been working to keep its fish populations low.
While many fish stocks are thriving in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, the industry is increasingly seeing a shift toward the ocean, as far as what’s called “sustainable fisheries.”
“They’re catching and keeping bigger fish, but they’re also doing so at a higher rate than they were before,” Miller said.
In the past, the fishing industry has relied on small-scale operations.
The industry is starting to catch on to this.
To help diversify the commercial fishery of the Gulf, the Pew study looked at the fishing practices of several large commercial fishers, including the American Fisheries Association, the Gulf States Fisheries Commission, and a large commercial fishing company in the state of Georgia.
The findings, which were published online this week, showed the commercial fisherman sector has been using a variety of methods to boost the diversity of their commercial fishing fleets.
Most important, the study found that they’re using “catch-and-release” methods to harvest the smaller, faster-growing fish.
When commercial fishing occurs on a larger scale, the catch-and.release method is not only a way to get a better return, but also to increase the sustainability of the commercial fleet.
It’s a sustainable approach that makes it easier for commercial fishermen to catch fish at a larger, faster rate than it was before.
“It’s also a very low-cost, very effective way of getting a big fish,” Miller added.
The Pew report also looked at a number of other factors that make the Gulf a great place to live, including proximity to other fishing destinations, access to fresh, clean water, and relatively low pollution levels.