Switching Gears for Bluefin Tuna

Atlantic bluefin tuna, which on average weigh around 550 pounds, are world travelers – visiting the Mediterranean, Atlantic Coast and Gulf, sometimes multiple times in one year. Unfortunately, when they visit us here in the Gulf, they face the threat of wasteful surface longline fishing. Tell the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to take action to protect bluefin.Longlines are a series of baited hooks suspended from fishing lines that stretch up to 40 miles. Although longliners are targeting other species like yellowfin tuna and swordfish, they also catch more than 80 unintended marine species – including bluefin tuna.In response to public outcry, NOAA recently released proposed measures aimed at protecting this incredible fish. While their proposal is a good start, changes are needed to strengthen these protections and assist longliners in transitioning to more selective and effective fishing gear.BP’s restoration dollars could be the saving grace for bluefin. The BP disaster directly impacted bluefin, and some of these restoration monies could go towards funding the transition to more selective gear. Please join us in asking NOAA for a solution that includes phasing out longlining in the Gulf by funding the transition to alternative gear. Harry Lowenburg is GRN’s Gulf Fish Forever Campaign Organizer.

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