Stop Overfishing and Restore Fisheries

Decades of destructive fishing practices have torn apart the ocean’s web of life, leaving many aquatic species severely depleted, some on the brink of extinction. Scientists estimate that the world's large ocean fish, including tuna and swordfish, have declined by up to 90 percent from preindustrial levels.


NRDC works to end overfishing, rebuild depleted fisheries, and promote the long-term sustainability of fisheries through firm catch limits based on scientific evidence. Thanks in part to our advocacy and litigation, the United States became the first nation in the world to set science-based catch limits for all of its managed species. And in a 2013 report, we demonstrated that two-thirds of federally managed fish species with rebuilding plans have successfully recovered or made significant progress. Now we are working to ensure that catch limits and rebuilding plans are enforced, and we are defending the law from industry attacks in Congress.

Even as fishing practices are on their way to becoming more sustainable, many species struggle in the face of habitat degradation. From Atlantic underwater canyons to local rivers, we are working to protect and revive ecosystems. Our litigators and advocates helped restore water flows to California's San Joaquin River and bring back wild salmon to the region. A healthier river system could soon support a vibrant salmon population—and a commercial fishery.

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