08/17/2010 - The Pew Environment Group has purchased ads in Florida Sportsman and some other magazines supporting a campaign to end pelagic longlining in the Gulf of Mexico. Several members of the FS forum were quick to criticize FS for allowing Pew to place the ads. One person even went so far as to compare FS to a prostitute. Such accusations are unfounded and those who made them fail to recognize the real problems with longlining that conservation-oriented fishing groups have been pointing out for years.
The pelagic longline discard mortality for overfished billfish is by far the largest component of total fishing mortality in U.S. fisheries, with 91 percent of blue marlin, 69 percent of white marlin and 29 percent of sailfish mortalities occurring in this fishery yearly. According to the U.S. NOAA/NMFS Highly Migratory Species Office large pelagic and large coastal sharks are caught and frequently discarded dead from this longling gear. The dramatically overfished Atlantic bluefin tuna are also taken and discarded dead as bycatch in this fishery. Bluefin tuna, blue and white marlin and shortfin mako sharks are considered overfished by U.S. and international management authorities.
Read the editorial Join Effort to Ban Gulf Longlines in its entirety on Florida Sportsman's Web site.