More than 55,000 people including 1,200 or more Sea Turtle Restoration Project supporters called for an end to longlining in the Gulf of Mexico to protect endangered sea turtles, marine mammals and near-extinct bluefin tuna. By ending this harmful and unsustainable fishing practice for catching swordfish and tuna, we an save 1,000 or more sea turtles every year, hundreds of marine mammals, and the near-extinct bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to everyone who helped jumpstart this bold new ocean campaign by filing a comment by August 31, 2009. Watch for responses to the people's comments from the U. S. government. Read our official comments.
End Gulf Longlining: Once again, federal fishery managers are trying to expand a deadly longline fishery that kills sea turtles and marine mammals as by-catch in order to increase seafood profits for a few. This time it's the longline fishery for swordfish and yellowfin tuna that operates in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico where loggerheads and leatherbacks swim and where the last of the giant bluefin tuna still spawn. In 2007 more than 200 Atlantic leatherbacks were hooked by longline vessels in the Gulf of Mexico.
Captures: The Atlantic Longline fishery captures and kills as many as 1,000 sea turtles every year and more than 100 Pilot whales and Risso's dolphins. In 2007 the fleet discarded 11,823 swordfish, 1,345 bluefin tuna, 34,611 sharks, 611 blue marlin, 744 white marlin, 321 sailfish -- the vast majority of which were dead or dying. With more than 40 percent of the long-line fishing effort concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico, eliminating long-lining in this area will stop this wasteful and destructive bycatch.
Bluefin Tuna: Western Atlantic bluefin tuna are in deep peril. This amazing fish is fast as a racehorse and can weigh as much as a leatherback at 1,500 pounds. And like our leatherback, the bluefin is in danger of becoming extinct within 10 years. Rampant commercial fishing for this prized sushi fish has reduced the mature population by 80% since 1970. Despite this, they want to increase the catch in the Gulf of Mexico, despite the fact that their population is at the lowest levels on record.