Time is running out to defeat a proposal that would crack open the door for the commercial longline industry to fish in conservation zones created in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
On Nov. 20, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced its intent to issue Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs) for the collection of Atlantic highly migratory species. in 2013. EFPs and related permits would authorize collection of tunas, swordfish, billfishes, and sharks from Federal waters in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico for the purposes of scientific data collection and public display. The Coastal Conservation Association is greatly concerned with the possibility of purported "research" that would allow commercial longline vessels to fish in places like the Charleston Bump and Florida East Coast marine conservation zones where the use of surface longline gear has been prohibited for more than a decade.
CCA has submitted comments in opposition to the EFP proposal and is urging its members to make their voices heard. Comments must be received by December 20 and may be sent to:
Highly Migratory Species Management Division (F/SF1)
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Fax: (301) 713-1917
––Source: Coastal Conservation Association