Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel for Bluefin Tuna?
Officials are considering a new rule which would eliminate ‘bycatching’ in the Gulf of Mexico, potentially helping endangered bluefin tuna.
by Douglas Main
Majestic Bluefin tuna migrate thousands of miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico to breed and can grow up to 1,500 pounds during their relatively long lives. But only a small number get the chance to reach maturity.
Although it has been illegal to intentionally fish for Bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico for decades, they are still caught in significant numbers by commercial fishermen, said Tom Wheatley, an environmental advocate with the Pew Charitable Trusts.
That’s largely due to the use of longlines, a commercial fishing technique that uses long fishing lines that stretch for up to 30 miles across the surface of Gulf waters, towed behind ships, and holding up to 750 hooks.
Though these longlines are intended to catch yellowfin tuna and swordfish, they end up hooking and killing up to 80 different unintended species—called bycatch—such as sea turtles, marine mammals and Bluefin tuna, Wheatley said…
(read more: TakePart.org) (photo: WWF)