What is U.S. Fisheries Management?


Source Pew Foundation/ Jim Toomy

Ocean conservation is essential but sometimes difficult to understand. Pew joined forces with cartoonist Jim Toomey, the artist behind “Sherman’s Lagoon,” on 10 animated videos that explain the complicated concepts that guide efforts to protect our oceans.

Visual Glossary of Ocean Terminology – Cartoon crash course

#3 What is U.S. Fisheries Management?

There are only so many fish in the sea. That’s why each region of the United States needs fisheries managers to make sure we don’t take too much marine life out of our ocean. Science-based fisheries management can help ensure a healthy ecosystem for fish and a hearty harvest for fishermen for generations to come.

Cartoonist Jim Toomey—whose daily comic strip, Sherman’s Lagoon, is syndicated in more than 250 newspapers in the United States—joined forces with The Pew Charitable Trusts to illustrate “U.S. fisheries management” and other terms associated with our oceans.


When you hear the word “management,” you probably think of your boss… That humorless, overpaid tyrant who catches you watching videos like this at work. But management is necessary almost everywhere, even out in the ocean. In U.S. waters, fishery management is a vital part of our economy and our food supply.
For example, we have a Gulf of Mexico long-line tuna fishery and an Alaska purse-seine salmon fishery. The U.S. has many fisheries that put seafood on our dinner plates, create jobs, and contribute big bucks to the U.S. economy.

Sadly, fish can’t attend fishery management meetings. They tend to flop around, suffocate, and die. And so, fishery management is about how people manage fisheries, ideally while representing at least some of the fish’s interests.

Fishery managers set limits on the number of fish that can be caught, along with where, when, and how. To make these decisions, they look at the size of a fish population, how it interacts with other species in the ecosystem, and whether the fish needs protected areas to reproduce and grow.

The overall goal is to ensure that we have enough fish to eat, and we leave enough fish to keep their populations in tact and the ocean healthy.

And now’s probably a good time to tell you that your boss is looking over your shoulder.


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February 2, 2017 |

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