National Fisherman


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>>

Inside the Industry

The American Fisheries Society is honoring recently retired Florida Institute of Oceanography director Bill Hogarth with the Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award — one of the nation's premier awards in fisheries science - in recognition of his long career and leadership in preserving some of the world's most threatened species, advocating for environmental protections and leading Florida's scientific response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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The Marine Stewardship Council has appointed Eric Critchlow as the new U.S. Program Director. Critchlow will be based in the MSC US headquarters in Seattle. He is a former vice president of Lusamerica Foods and has over 35 years in the seafood industry.

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