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Feds ban commercial swordfish fishing in Pacific to save turtles
AP via San Diego Union Tribune ^ | March 12, 2004 | Terence Chea

Posted on 03/12/2004 10:12:28 PM PST by calcowgirl

SAN FRANCISCO – The federal government banned commercial fishing for swordfish in a large swath of the Pacific Ocean in order to protect endangered sea turtles that were being killed or injured by the hooks.

The new rules, released Thursday by the National Marine Fisheries Service, mean that longline fishing for swordfish will be prohibited in a 1,600-mile stretch of the Pacific Ocean between the West Coast and Hawaii. The ban is scheduled to take effect on April 12 and will affect about two dozen fishing boats based in California, Oregon and Washington.

Recreational fishing is not affected.

"It's an important step in protecting endangered sea turtles from going extinct," said Todd Steiner, director of the Turtle Island Restoration Network, which lobbied for the ban. "It won't save the sea turtles by itself, but when the U.S. takes proper action, it's in a better moral position to get other countries to also take action."

The United States makes up only about 5 percent of the global swordfish fishing fleet, Steiner said. Japan, Korea and Taiwan all have large fleets.

The ban comes after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last August that the National Marine Fisheries Service had violated the Endangered Species Act by allowing longline fishermen to operate off the West Coast.

Tim Price, NMFS's assistant regional administrator for protected resources, said Thursday that the agency issued the ban after its scientists determined that continued swordfish fishing would jeopardize the survival of the leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles – two species protected by the federal law.

Longline fishermen use lines as long as 50 miles that carry thousands of baited hooks dangling within 100 feet of the ocean's surface to catch swordfish.

But many sea turtles – as well as sharks, dolphins and seabirds – also get caught on the hooks, causing injury or death. Federal officials have estimated that "long-lining" kills 61 loggerheads and 15 leatherbacks each year. Biologists say that the leatherback could become extinct in 10 to 30 years if current trends continue.

In 2002, environmental groups filed a lawsuit in the San Francisco-based federal appeals court after more than 30 swordfish boats moved to Southern California after they were barred by a 2001 federal ruling from operating out of Hawaii.

The fishermen, who are mostly Vietnamese American, have said that a ban on swordfish fishing would threaten their livelihood.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: ban; coastalenvironment; costalenvironment; endangered; environment; fisheries; fishing; swordfish; turtles

1 posted on 03/12/2004 10:12:28 PM PST by calcowgirl
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To: calcowgirl
California owns the oceans now? If the fishermen aren't in US waters how can they enforce this?
2 posted on 03/12/2004 10:15:16 PM PST by CindyDawg
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: CindyDawg
By banning the product, or by banning certain companies from selling the product in the US.
4 posted on 03/12/2004 10:26:38 PM PST by GeronL ( a Freeper to Congress!)
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To: calcowgirl; abbi_normal_2; Ace2U; Alamo-Girl; Alas; alfons; alphadog; amom; AndreaZingg; ...
Rights, farms, environment ping.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.
5 posted on 03/12/2004 10:30:15 PM PST by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: calcowgirl
They should just hunt the Turtles directly. Turtle soup is good. I'm sure Endangered Turtle soup tastes even better.
6 posted on 03/12/2004 10:30:52 PM PST by montag813
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To: calcowgirl
No mention of what this will mean for the net boats.
Sloppy reporting---?
7 posted on 03/12/2004 10:31:33 PM PST by 7MMmag
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To: montag813
Turtle hunting...
That was one of the problems.
U.S. based fishermen are held to a much higher standard than the rest of the world.
Then---the importers from other countries find ways to import product.
Which makes the U.S. boats losers.
Is this the way to save the environment?
8 posted on 03/12/2004 10:35:23 PM PST by 7MMmag
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To: calcowgirl
I have learned not to trust any counts that come out of wildlife agencies. A couple of years ago out here in Washington state, in addition to an attempt to plant lynx and grizzly fur in the Cascades so that they could rope off a million or so acres from our access, they also closed all the lower parts (below the falls) of the west-side rivers to all fishing. They said the steelhead count was low and had to protect them.

I got into a big argument with a guy at Orvis as he was defending the action. I gave him the standard arguments from not trusting agencies that are appointed and not elected and therefore have no responsibility to a constituency and no check-and-balance to it just being absurd that legally they can confiscate not only your gear but your car and anything else that a fisherman may have used to carry out such a heinous crime (breaking a fishing regulation).

It came out just a few weeks ago that they were only counting the 'natural' steelheads, that there were plenty of steelheads in the rivers.

What don't these agencies understand about this simple fact:

Second generation IS wild!!!
If you raise them in hatcheries and release them, their offspring are as wild as any whose ancestors have been in the rivers a thousand years.
9 posted on 03/13/2004 1:23:42 AM PST by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (I'm fresh out of tags. I'll pick some up tomorrow.)
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To: farmfriend
10 posted on 03/13/2004 3:08:05 AM PST by E.G.C.
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To: E.G.C.
I've fished swordfish for over 25 years. The only way to harvest these beautiful fish are by harpoon. This is the only way to sustain the fishery, because it is seasonal and local. Longliners follow them year round. They bring in as many fish in 1 month as a harpooner would catch in a season. When you go to resturant and ask for swordfish, "ASK FOR FRESH HARPOONED SWORDFISH". They are typically caught from mid June thru mid November. Don't buy that crap they sell in frozen vac-packed packages. It taste like cardboard compared to a harpooned swordfish. Harpooned swordfish melts in your mouth.
11 posted on 03/13/2004 10:01:59 AM PST by US_MilitaryRules (Daddy needs a Hummer! The H2 will do!)
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To: US_MilitaryRules
12 posted on 03/13/2004 10:11:12 AM PST by US_MilitaryRules ( "Your It")
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