The United States National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has issued a proposed rule to require the use of “weak hooks” on pelagic longline vessels fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. IGFA is not convinced that weak hooks can significantly reduce bycatch mortality of bluefin and other pelagic species such as blue and white marlin. Instead, the IGFA recommends a complete ban on longlines in the Gulf of Mexico.
The comment period for the proposed rule closes on February 12, 2011 and comments can be sent electronically to the e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Under “Document Type” choose Proposed Rule, and under “ID” type in 0648-BA39. We urge all of our members to submit a comment on this proposed rule today. To see the IGFA’s letter of opposition, click here.