Possible Ban on Pacific Bluefin Tuna Fishing
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has begun proceedings that could ban or severely restrict bluefin tuna fishing — including recreational fishing — in U.S. Pacific waters, according to a proposed rule published in the Federal Register last week. This comes on the heels of the Mexican government’s immediate ban last week on bluefin tuna fishing along its Pacific coast.
The Centers for Biological Diversity has petitioned NOAA and the National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) for the new rule.
“The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), a non-governmental organization, has petitioned the U.S. Department of Commerce to promulgate regulations to prohibit fishing for Pacific bluefin tuna and to identify specific reference points used to determine if overfishing is occurring or if the stock is overfished,” the Federal Register states. “The petition asserts that Pacific bluefin tuna are not adequately protected under the existing Fishery Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory Species (HMS FMP).”
The petitions seeks that NMFS take action to end overfishing of Pacific bluefin tuna.
There is a 55-day comment period, and the Sportfishing Association of California (SAC) is urging its members and all anglers to submit a comment by mail on letterhead. “We HIGHLY recommend you submit a comment via mail on letterhead,” SAC stated in an email to its members. “This method often has more weighted value than electronic submissions and is more likely to be read.”
SAC urged all anglers to submit writeen comments to: Mark Helvey, NMFS West Coast Region, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802, attn. Pacific Bluefin Tuna. Anglers can also submit all electronic public comments via the **[Federal e-Rulemaking Portal](http:// www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0076