As the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) deliberates over whether or not to approve a permit for a single vessel to explore a west coast longline fishery in federal waters (3-200 miles off the U.S. coast), the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) has turned its attention to the high seas (seaward of 200 miles).
The Council recently announced alternatives for a high seas longline fishery, which is being developed as Amendment 2 to the Fishery Management Plan for West Coast Highly Migratory Species (HMS FMP). Minimally, the fishery would consist of 20 vessels deploying over 1 million hooks. An option for an unlimited fishery (in terms of vessels and hooks) is also presented.
The law requires NMFS to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposed action, and comments from the public are being accepted until September 8, 2008. Contact the National Marine Fisheries Services to oppose the west coast high seas longline fishery, and to demand that they include in the EIS a comprehensive analysis of the impact on all species expected to interact with the proposed fishery. Despite some modest successes in gear modifications, longlines kill indiscriminately with detrimental effects on sea turtles, marlin, sharks and other imperiled species.
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