For almost a century, bluefin tuna have been one of the most important big-game species sought by recreational fishermen. However, the development of a lucrative commercial industry, largely catering to the demand for sushi in Japan, has contributed to significant declines of this now-threatened species.

Bluefin tuna are often inadvertently caught on longlines – an indiscriminate commercial fishing practice that employs thousands of baited hooks on fishing lines that stretch for many miles. Pelagic longlines regularly exceed their Atlantic bluefin tuna quota. In 2012, the fishery threw back dead 239.5 metric tons of bluefin tuna, representing nearly 25 percent of the overall U.S. quota.

New regulations currently under consideration by federal fishery managers by and large make significant strides to boost bluefin conservation in the U.S. and would benefit other pelagic species hit hard by longlining including marlin, sailfish and swordfish. However, it’s critical that managers don’t take action to unnecessarily punish recreational anglers for the offenses of longliners.

To help insure that positive steps are made with bluefin tuna while avoiding punitive measures for anglers, America’s saltwater anglers need to speak up on these important proposed management changes.

To make your voice heard, simply visit the official comment page on Atlantic HMS Amendment 7.

Every comment counts and has an impact. Thank you for doing your part to help improve the management and health of the iconic bluefin tuna.

Image courtesy KeepAmericaFishing

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