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2013-11-03. U.S. agency proposes rules to protect bluefin tuna.

posted Nov 7, 2013, 7:54 AM by Alan Gould
For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 7. Excerpt:  Pity, for a moment, the poor Atlantic bluefin tuna. It’s not bad enough that its population has been decimated by diners’ seemingly insatiable appetite for sushi. Or that the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred at the height of its spawning season, in its only known Western spawning grounds. No, bluefin also are plagued by another long-standing problem: They are inevitably caught by long-line fishermen trying to hook bigger, healthier schools of yellowfin tuna, swordfish and big-eye tuna. Under government regulations, the fishermen are allowed to bring a small number of the carefully regulated and valuable fish to shore for sale, but most of them die on hooks hanging from 20-mile fishing lines and are discarded at sea. ...By one estimate, 111 metric tons of bluefin were killed this way in one year. The “bycatch” problem is slowing efforts to rebuild the bluefin population in the western Atlantic, which is at 36 percent of the 1970 level, according to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. ...Now, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the U.S. government agency that regulates offshore fishing, ... is proposing ... sharply cut back the number of bluefin tuna that individual fishing vessels are allowed to capture accidentally, setting a quota for each boat and requiring fishermen to include the bluefin they discard at sea under that cap. The NMFS also would change the long-standing formula by which it calculates the number of pounds of bluefin tuna that a long-liner may legally bring to shore for sale. Any vessel that exceeds its cap for accidentally caught bluefin wouldn’t be able to leave the dock to fish for other species, according to the proposal.... http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-agency-proposes-rules-to-protect-bluefin-tuna/2013/11/03/e3b653d8-4339-11e3-a624-41d661b0bb78_story.html. Lenny Bernstein, Wachington Post.