Turtle Island Submits Impact Study Comments
Turtle Island Restoration Network has submitted formal comments on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). The PEIS will be used to analyze the environmental impacts of the continued authorization and management of U.S. Pacific Island deep-set tuna longline fisheries.
Turtle Island is collaborating with the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice and Defenders of Wildlife on the comments.
Read complete Impact Study Comments
All of these groups say this analysis should include certain longline fisheries based in Hawaii, the U.S. West Coast, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The comments give an extensive analysis of the tuna stocks, and the need for additional measures to end overfishing, and address issues of particular concern to Turtle Island on the fisheries’ bycatch of imperiled species.
These include critically endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles, bycatch of blue, mako, thresher, scalloped hammerhead and silky sharks, as well as the oceanic whitecap, which is proposed for listing under Environmental Science Associates (ESA).
Other endangered wildlife includes bycatch of pelagic sea birds such as the Laysan and black-footed albatrosses. Bycatch of marine mammals includes false killer whales, sperm and humpback whales, beaked whales, pygmy killer whales, short finned pilot whales and various dolphin species.
Another major concern are recent allegations that have come to light regarding mistreatment of the crew aboard longline boats, with claims of forced labor and human trafficking. The National Environmental Policy Act must take a hard look at these allegations, and thoroughly evaluate these impacts in its PEIS.