Bluefin tuna are incredible fish - the size of small trucks, swimming speeds of up to 50 mph, lifespans of 80 years - that are also incredibly threatened. Right now, there's an unprecedented opportunity to help the beleaguered bluefin bounce back without overly burdening fishermen, and we need your help.
The Gulf of Mexico had already lost 72% of its Atlantic bluefin tuna population since 1970 due to overfishing. Then, in 2010, BP's crude and corexit were swirling in the Gulf, the only known spawning grounds for the Western Atlantic bluefin during their exact spawning season.
It's time to give the Gulf's bluefin an opportunity to make a come back by using BP's disaster restoration funds to end the use of surface longlines that stretchup to 30 miles with hundreds of baited hooks. They're used to catch yellowfin tuna and swordfish, but they also incidentally kill and waste 80 other species of marine life, including bluefin.
Fortunately, better methods exist. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) should encourage transitioning from conventional longlines to more selective fishing gear and ban longline fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Best of all, by using BP dollars through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process, the changes can come at no cost to fishermen, many of whom are still hurting from the BP disaster. It's possible to save bluefin and continue to feed the nation delicious Gulf seafood.
Submit your comment in favor of the bluefin today and help take advantage of this incredible win-win opportunity.
Aaron Viles is GRN's Deputy Director. You can follow him on twitter here.