Our Wholesale Swordfish Sustainability Practices
The Northwest Atlantic swordfish fishery is one of the best managed fisheries in the world. A highly migratory fish, swordfish are managed in the Atlantic by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). After years of heavy fishing by foreign fleets reduced swordfish stocks in the Atlantic, in 1994 ICCAT assigned quotas to countries participating in the fishery and enacted a series of additional conservation measures to rebuild the stocks.
Today, fresh swordfish stocks in the Northwest Atlantic are fully recovered due to strict management of the fishery. These measures include:
- Enforcement of a minimum size restriction, ensuring that all swordfish get a chance to reproduce and continually replenish the population.
- Closure of large areas to avoid catching small swordfish
- Swordfish boats must have vessel monitoring systems onboard to ensure they do not fish in closed areas
- Strict enforcement of the U.S. quota (in fact, the U.S. sword fleet has failed to catch its entire quota in recent years due to the many management measures being enforced)
- The use of more environmentally friendly circle hooks on longlines, which has reduced the U.S. fleet’s interaction with sea turtles by 90 percent.