The Pew Environment Group now joined conservation organizations and 14 fishing

Published: 08th May 2020
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About 55,000 citizens filed comments urging NMFS to protect western Atlantic bluefin tuna by implementing an area closure on longline gear in the Gulf of Mexico, the only known spawning area for the species. Scientists estimate that the number of mature western Atlantic bluefin tuna has fell more than 80% since 1970, and fewer than 20,000 adults may remain. A lot of the decline comes from your extreme commercial fishing and incidental killing (bycatch) by vessels targeting yellowfin tuna and swordfish."Atlantic bluefin tuna, one of the biggest & most valuable fish in the oceans, is in dire straits," said Lee Crockett, manager of Federal Fisheries Policy, Pew Environment Group. "We now have the chance to restore this fish to healthful levels. Despite critically low population levels along with the current ban, NMFS has proposed permitting commercial long-line fishermen to get and sell more fish than presently allowed by law. A substantial price is commanded by bluefin tuna in the market - up to thousands of dollars per fish. Letting fishermen just two more of the fish per trip creates a powerful economic incentive to set long-line gear in the only known spawning places. Given the small population size of mature fish, any increase in mortality reduces the possibility of rebuilding the stock."Anything we may do to protect these delicate species in their own spawning divisions in the Gulf of Mexico would benefit all user groups," said Ray Rosher, famous Miami-based charter captain. "As well as the conservation of those species is critical to all user groups."In addition to shielding bluefin tuna, the ban would help preserve populations of white and blue marlin - both are categorized as subject to overfishing and are seriously depleted. Endangered leatherback and threatened loggerhead sea turtles, which are captured and killed unintentionally by long-lines, would also benefit from the closure. The Pew Environment Group is working to ensure a closing of sea surface longline fishing for yellowfin tuna and swordfish to shield other ocean wildlife and bluefin tuna. The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization headquartered in America that employs a rigorous, analytical approach to advising the people, improving public policy and exciting civic life

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