The Pew Environment Group today joined conservation organizations and 14 fishing

Published: 08th May 2020
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The Pew Environment Group today joined 14 fishing and conservation organizations and more than 55,000 members of the general public in urging the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to reject its present proposal to allow commercial long line fishermen to capture and sell more Atlantic bluefin tuna, an iconic species nearing failure. Around 55,000 citizens filed comments urging NMFS to shield western Atlantic bluefin tuna by executing an area closure on longline gear in the Gulf of Mexico, the only known spawning area for the species. Scientists estimate that the amount of mature western Atlantic bluefin tuna has fell more than 80% since 1970, and fewer than 20,000 adults may stay. "We now get the chance to restore this fish to healthy levels. Despite the current prohibition as well as critically low population levels, NMFS has proposed permitting commercial long line fishermen sell and to capture more fish than currently allowed by law. A cost that is substantial is commanded by bluefin tuna to tens of thousands of dollars per fish - up in the market. Allowing fishermen merely two more of those fish per trip creates a strong economic incentive to establish long-line equipment 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 can do to protect these delicate species in their spawning divisions in the Gulf of Mexico would benefit all user groups," said Ray Rosher, distinguished Miami-based charter captain. "And also the conservation of these species is essential to all user groups."In addition to shielding bluefin tuna, the prohibition would help preserve populations of white and blue marlin - both are categorized as subject to overfishing and therefore are badly depleted. Endangered leatherback and threatened loggerhead sea turtles, which are caught and killed unintentionally by long-lines, would also benefit from the closure. The Pew Environment Group is working to ensure a closure of sea surface longline fishing for yellowfin tuna and swordfish to shield bluefin tuna as well as other ocean wildlife. The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization headquartered in America that applies a rigorous, analytic method of stimulating civic life, advising the public and enhancing public policy

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