Protect Spawning Bluefin Tuna and Endangered Sea Turtles By Closing the Gulf Surface Longline Fishery
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The Gulf of Mexico longline fishery kills both endangered sea turtles and imperiled bluefin tuna in their high seas migratory and spawning areas. To reduce unsustainable bycatch of bluefin critical to the Atlantic populations’ continued existence, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has proposed switching to experimental “weak hooks” that should bend and release the largest bycatch. This unproven fishing gear is a weak solution to a serious problem.
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, Like Sea Turtles, May Soon Be Endangered
Just last month NMFS advised adding Atlantic bluefin tuna to the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Their only spawning ground is polluted with BP oil, their population is relentlessly attacked by commercial fisheries, and the latest NMFS solution is “weak hooks.” A strong solution is needed to ensure the survival of these beautiful fish and the injured ecosystem they depend on, and that strong solution is the closure of the deadly longline fishing fleet.
Gulf Longlines Kill Sea Turtles, Threaten Many Fisheries
The Sea Turtle Restoration Project is engaged in an ongoing battle to end longline fishing in the Gulf, home to four species of endangered sea turtles. Gulf longline fishing kills hundreds of sea turtles each year and continues harming populations of bluefin tuna and sturgeon at a time when all Gulf marine life is in recovery from the BP oil spill.
PHOTOS: (top) Bluefin tuna, credit NOAA. (bottom) A loggerhead sea turtle hooked and killed on a longline boat fishing for swordfish, credit Mar Mas/Oceana.