According to the National Oceanic and Athmospheric Adminstration (NOAA), when there was a decline in European dogfish stocks, U.S. commercial fishermen stepped up and started fishing for the species. From 1987 to 1996, harvests increased nearly 10-fold. The fishermen primarily targeted larger dogfish, which tended to be female. This removal of mature female dogfish led to a decline in population. NOAA states that "by 1998, scientists found the spiny dogfish stock had fallen below the minimum level determined to be sustainable."