The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) recently voted to recommend approval of an application for an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) for a single vessel to fish longline gear within 200 miles of the U.S. west coast. The final approval of this EFP lies in the hands of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). “We opposed the permit on the basis that it is foolish to try and develop a new fishery on species that are already overfished or fully exploited,” said TBF President Ellen Peel, “as are bigeye, yellowfin and albacore tuna.”
TBF was successful in persuading the Council’s management team and advisory panel to include a prohibition on the use of the longline gear within 30 miles of any shoreline and in the Southern California Bight where conflicts with anglers and bycatch of striped marlin would be unacceptable.
In addition, TBF’s Dr. Russell Nelson persuaded the groups to recommend a cap on striped marlin hook ups to the full Council. Although commercial industry representatives on the Council initially proposed a cap of 57 striped marlin encounters before the longline “experiment” would be discontinued, a cap of 12 was finally adopted.
Additional caps on encounters with sea turtles and marine mammals were also included in the Council’s final recommendation and only 18/0 circle hooks can be used. The EFP, if approved by the NMFS, would allow for 4 longline trips between next September and December.
TBF’s letter of opposition will soon be posted under Recent News at www.billfish.org and can be used as a guideline for others writing letters.
Full details on the council’s action are available at: