No great surprise in the findings of a report entitled “More Habitat Means More Fish.”
Still, it lends strong evidence to the argument that investing in our nation’s coastal areas and estuaries leads to healthy habitat and robust fisheries, which positively impact local communities and economies dependent on recreational and commercial fishing.
Released by Restore America’s Estuaries and the American Sportfishing Association, the report includes the following:
- More than 75 percent of our nation’s catch of commercial fish and 80-90 percent of the catch of recreational fish depend on key estuary habitat at some point in their lifecycle.
- Fish populations can respond quickly to habitat improvement and the impact will endure. Rebounds in fish populations can occur within months and persist for years.
- In San Francisco Bay, restored salt marshes have improved 41 fish species including steelhead trout, Pacific herring, green sturgeon and Chinook salmon.
- Since 2000, in Massachusetts and New York, herring, shad and sturgeon have doubled and tripled in population due to habitat restoration projects. Just two years after a single culvert was repaired, connecting Bride Brook to Long Island Sound, the herring population more than tripled from 75,000 to 287,000.
- An oyster reef restoration project in Alabama increased populations of several economically important species, including blue crab, red drum, spotted seatrout, and flounder.
“Investing in coastal and estuarine habitat restoration is essential not only for the long-term future of our fisheries but also because it helps support economies and communities through the recreational and commercial fishing industries,” said Jeff Benoit, president and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries. “In order to have fish, we have to have healthy habitat. If we want more fish, we need healthier habitat.”
American Sportfishing Association President and CEO Mike Nussman noted, “As an industry, we are keenly aware of the impact that sportfishing has on our nation’s habitat restoration efforts. In many ways, America’s anglers are the nation’s most powerful force for conserving our nation’s fisheries and waters, investing more than $1 billion dollars each year in fisheries management and conservation through taxes on fishing equipment and state fishing license sales.”
Go here to see the full report.