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Steve Chiotakis: There's a new study out today that makes an economic case for rebuilding dwindling fish populations as quickly as possible. The Pew Environment Group report aims to answer ongoing complaints about federal catch limits on "over-fished" species. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Here's Sarah Gardner.

Sarah Gardner: Right now, nearly a quarter of U.S. fish stocks are badly depleted. Federal law now requires that most over-fished species be rebuilt within 10 years. That means imposing strict annual quotas on how much fishermen can catch.

Commercial fishermen and charter boat operators complain the quotas are killing their business. But the Pew Study suggests that the short-term economic pain is worth it.

Lee Crockett is director of federal fisheries policy at Pew:

Lee Crockett: The longer you drag this out, the harder it is for the stock to rebound. Because if you continue to allow overfishing at a too-high rate, the population's going to continue to decline and you're going to have to make larger cuts.

The study argues that if just four mid-Atlantic species had been rebuilt by 2007, the commercial and recreational fishing industries would be making over half a billion dollars more each year than they are now. But fishing groups in New York and New Jersey are pushing legislation in Congress that would loosen federal rules on over-fishing.

I'm Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

Follow Sarah Gardner at @RadioGardner