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Lawsuits Gain Protection for False Killer Whales Threatened by Hawaii Longline Fleet

Prodded by seven years of litigation by conservation organizations, the National Marine Fisheries Services announced today a new measure aimed at protecting Hawaii’s false killer whales from the lethal impacts of the longline fishery.

The agency published a notice in the Federal Register on January 19, 2010 that formally establishes a “take reduction team” for false killer whales. The team will consider ways to reduce harm to false killer whales caused by commercial tuna and swordfish longline operations. Longline vessels trail up to 60 miles of fishing line suspended in the water with floats and as many as 1,000 baited hooks.

Approximately 60 whales were killed or injured in 2009 by the Hawaii longline fleet fishing for tuna and swordfish.

Creation of the team was the goal of the most recent litigation filed by Earthjustice on behalf of Turtle Island Restoration Network,  Hui Mälama i Koholä, and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Read more by clicking here.