05/27/2011 - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday that the world’s most sought-after fish, the Atlantic bluefin tuna, does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.
NOAA made the determination despite concerns that the bluefin fishery in the western Atlantic may have been devastated by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion. The gulf is the fish’s only known breeding area, and spawning takes place around the time the oil started to gush.
Lee Crockett, director of federal fisheries policy for the Pew Environment Group, said that bluefin are a migratory fish that can swim at speeds equal to a car. “Just going at the U.S. portion of this is not going to solve the problem,” he said. “Our position is the U.S. needs to do a better job of working through ICCAT.”
In addition to being heavily fished in its own right, about 111 metric tons of bluefin are killed incidentally in the nets of vessels searching for swordfish and yellowfin tuna.
“That should be prohibited,” Crockett said. “That’s the one thing [NOAA’s] National Marine Fisheries Service could do in the U.S. They’ve done very little to limit that.”
Read the full article NOAA Declines to Protect Atlantic Bluefin Tuna on The Washington Post's Web site.