Recreational anglers can help end the waste of bluefin tuna in the U.S. and ensure that surface longliners – not sportsmen – are held accountable for incidental bycatch. The International Game Fish Association has sponsored an online petition and is asking for anglers to sign on at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/618/212/596/ to urge NOAA Fisheries to strengthen their current proposed rule for bluefin tuna by reducing longline bycatch and protecting bluefin spawning rounds.

“Recreational anglers are leaders when it comes to conserving   fish and their habitat,” said IGFA’s Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser,  “and we’re hoping having recreational anglers sign on this petition will help NOAA Fisheries realize  better protection is needed for this species.”

Surface longlines kill thousands of game fish, including blue and white marlin, sailfish, sharks and bluefin tuna. In 2012, the fishery threw back dead nearly 25% of the U.S. bluefin quota. The IGFA is calling on NOAA Fisheries to help reverse this trend by implementing strong measures that will protect spawning bluefin in the Gulf of Mexico and hold surface longliners accountable for bluefin bycatch Both of which mean increased fishing opportunities for recreational anglers.

“Thanks to email and social media it is easier than ever for an angler to spread the word and support this measure,” Schratwieser continued. “It only takes 30 seconds to sign the petition and share it on Facebook or email. Showing fisheries managers that sportsmen are engaged and concerned about our resources is critical to enacting change.”

Anglers and conservationists can learn more about the IGFA’s work for bluefin tuna at www.igfa.org/Conserve/News.aspx.

Logo courtesy International Game Fish Association

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