Tell the NMFS that the proposed weak hook rule is not enough to protect bluefin tuna and billfish in the Gulf of Mexico
The United States National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has issued a proposed rule to require the use of “weak hooks” on pelagic longline vessels fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico is the only known spawning ground for critically imperiled western Atlantic bluefin tuna and large, reproductive individuals are at risk to longlines. IGFA is not convinced that weak hooks can significantly reduce bycatch mortality of bluefin and other pelagic species such as blue and white marlin. Instead, the IGFA is recommending a complete ban on longlines in the Gulf of Mexico.
The comment period for the proposed rule closes on February 12, 2011 and comments can be sent electronically to the e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Under "Document Type" choose Proposed Rule, and under "ID" type in 0648-BA39. To see IGFA’s letter of opposition, click here. We urge all of our members to submit this letter of opposition ASAP.