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Some Promising News For Bluefin Tuna Global, September 6, 13

Draft regulations have been issued to US policy makers to help protect depleted stocks of Atlantic bluefin tuna. The rule has been proposed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), after the western Atlantic bluefin population has plummeted 64 percent from its 1970’s level.

The proposed rule contains several changes that focus on improving the management of the over exploited species in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. This includes attention on limiting the number of bluefin killed by the US surface longline fleet.

Longline vessels cause serious problems in the Gulf of Mexico which is a main spawning ground for bluefin. Surface longliners that target yellowfin tuna often catch bluefin tuna instead.

Provisions of the draft include: establishing a gear restriction in certain months for longliners; implementing a new annual cap on the amount of bluefin caught by longliners; and adding a requirement that all fisherman using longline vessels install and maintain video cameras and data recorders to monitor their catch.

NOAA said that these regulations would be a step in the right direction, but more changes are needed to effectively protect one of the most remarkable, yet depleted fish in the sea.