NOVA Southeastern University has stopped its pelagic longline research in Florida's east coast closed zone, according to a press release from one of the research project's biggest opponents.
The Billfish Foundation announced the decision today, Sept. 28, on its website. The organization applauded the change, which comes after it sent a letter earlier this year to NOVA Southeastern University President Dr. George L. Hanbury II about the potential impact to the university's reputation. The university has received praise from The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a High Research and Community Engagement University, a title given to only 37 schools.
Pelagic longline research was recently federally permitted on a very limited basis for Florida's east coast closed zone after the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Office of Highly Migratory Species announced earlier this year it would allow longline boats back into zone. However, groups opposed the research due to the potential damage it could have on marine resources and particularly juvenile swordfish stocks off Florida's coast, as well as marine and tourism jobs dependent on those resources.
The Billfish Foundation thanked the offshore community and its followers for "their continued support in keeping this issue at the forefront."