A federal judge has ruled that longline fishermen in Hawaii may continue catching more bigeye tuna, or ahi, than the maximum set by international regulators.
U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi on Wednesday issued the ruling rejecting environmental groups' claims that the extra fishing is illegal.
The opinion came just in time for the year-end holidays when Hawaii consumers crowd stores to buy ahi sashimi for celebrations. A ruling adverse to the fishermen had the potential to shut down or curtail the Hawaii fishery for the rest of the calendar year.
Michael Tosatto, the Pacific Islands regional administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service, said Thursday that the agency is happy the judge found the rules lawful.
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