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August 24, 2009

GRN: Act now to help protect Atlantic bluefin

GRN: Act now to help protect Atlantic bluefin

Imagine a school of massive fish, some longer than Shaq is tall, some as heavy as prize Holsteins.  Imagine the school is moving through the water faster than a greyhound can run.  That's the scene under the Gulf every spring when Atlantic bluefin tuna enter their spawning grounds.  Bluefin are amazing fish.  Unfortunately, they are also prized as a seafood delicacy, highly sought after by the japanese sushi markets.  One bluefin tuna alone can be worth $100,000, increasing fishing to a point that the species is now thought to exist at critically low numbers, and on the path to extinction.

Bluefin are known to spawn in only two areas, the Mediteranean Sea and the Northern Gulf of Mexico.  In order to restore populations of bluefin tuna to sustainable levels, decision-makers must protect spawning grounds in the Gulf.

Fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico targeting swordfish and yellowfin tuna deploy up to 40 miles of long-lines in the water, heavy cables with hundreds of baited hooks.  Long-lines kill indiscriminately, catching species that are supposed to be protected in the Gulf of Mexico including bluefin, marlin, and sea turtles. Instead of eliminating this wasteful fishing gear, the Federal government is proposing to allow commercial fishermen to kill and sell more bluefin tuna, despite the fact that their population is at the lowest levels on record.

Please send a message to the National Marine Fisheries Service that this indiscriminate killing can not continue.  Ask NMFS to allow only more selective commercial gear, to protect bluefin and other important species, and allow them to recover. 

Visit this webpage to send that message today: http://action.healthygulf.org/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27806

Together we can ensure the survival of this amazing marine species.