California rebound

California’s fish population rebounds thanks to strict fishing rules — Study says the program is among the world’s most aggressive, helping guarantee good fishing in the future.

Among the West Coast’s shrinking fish populations 30 years ago, the largely bottom-dwelling groundfish species were particularly hard hit by overfishing and were declared a federal economic disaster.

That spurred one of the world’s most aggressive fishery management programs, with an approach that includes science- and data-driven catch limits and no-fishing zones. Of 17 global regions with ocean fishery management programs examined in a new study by the University of Washington, the west coasts of the United States and Canada had the strictest approaches.

And of the 10 West Coast groundfish populations that were at risk because of overfishing, nine have rebounded to sustainable levels, while the tenth, the yelloweye rockfish, is recovering faster than expected.