Written by Jen Finn
NEW ORLEANS — Boats using surface fishing lines with miles of baited hooks would get individual yearly limits for bluefin tuna bycatch under rules proposed to end the practice of dumping dead bluefin caught on hooks meant for other species.
Bluefin tuna, which can weigh 500 pounds and sell for thousands of dollars — the record is $736,000 — have been severely overfished to feed a worldwide market for sushi.
Groups specifically fishing for bluefin, from anglers to general fishing boats, would lose nearly 69 tons of their current total quotas — or about 7 percent of the total U.S. quota for Atlantic bluefin — to create the new longline quotas proposed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries division.
But once a longline boat reached its quota it would have to stop using the lines, which can extend up to 20 miles and carry thousands of hooks.
"The longliners will be held to a very strict threshold," said Bradley S. McHale, a fishery management specialist with NOAA Fisheries.
The rules made public Tuesday would also bar surface longlines from part of the Gulf of Mexico during April and May, the peak of spawning season. In an area off Cape Hatteras, N.C., they could be used from December through March only by boats that have proven able to use the gear without catching bluefin.
Read the full story at Naples Daily News>>
NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.
The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.Read more...
Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.
Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.Read more...