Protect the Blue Shark From Harmful Fishing Practices

Target: Michael D. Tosatto, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Goal: Protect blue sharks by limiting the amount of harmful fishing practices allowed on Hawaiian waters.

Numbers don’t lie and according to the data from the logbooks of longline fishing fleets off the coast of Hawaii, in the first quarter of 2013 the number of blue sharks that were caught and released was significantly higher than the target marine species that found themselves hooked on a line. The number of injured and stressed blue sharks that find themselves released into the ocean after been caught by a longline fishing vessel steadily increases along with the number of vessels allowed to fish off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands.  As if climate change wasn’t enough, pressures created by longline fisheries are rapidly transforming the landscape of the Pacific Ocean by removing top predators like the blue shark and shifting the dynamics of marine food webs.

The practice of longline fishing consists of casting a central line off the back of a fishing vessel.  This central line is threaded with smaller lines of baited hooks that hang at evenly spaced intervals.  It can range anywhere from one to fifty miles in length and can be set at different depths to target specific species of fish.  Lines are usually left soaking in the ocean overnight or even for a few days resulting not only in the capture of the target fish, but also in the capture of several unwanted bycatches including endangered sea turtles, sea birds, marine mammals, and sharks.  When fishermen come back to tend to the fishing lines, most of the sharks are already dead and many that are released from the lines die shortly after.

Signing this petition will ensure that the rich biodiversity of marine ecosystems in the Pacific Ocean is maintained.  Conservation of our oceans is paramount to our survival as a species and stewardship of our environment is everyone’s responsibility.


Dear Michael D. Tosatto,

The number of longline fishing vessels off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands has been steadily rising along with the number of hooks set into the water by fishermen.  The number of fishing fleets correlates with the increasing number of blue shark bycatch.  It is a well-known fact that most fisheries actually catch more sharks than their targeted species and yet there is no proof that blue sharks that are released from longline fishing hooks actually survive and continue to thrive in the oceans after having suffered great injury and stress.  The decimation of blue shark populations off the coast of Hawaii may point to the fact that successful recovery does not actually happen.

I am urging you to consider the ecological catastrophe that will ensue if the number of longline fishing fleets isn’t considerably reduced and limited.  Eliminating top predators from the ocean will have devastating effects to our marine ecosystems and the long-term effects are more important than the short-term economical rewards.  Please take action to secure a place for blue sharks in the future.


[Your Name Here]

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One Comment

  1. This has such a simple solution: STOP DOING IT! Seriously, it IS as simple as that! Stop doing something that is destroying the ecosystem! Conservation of our oceans is CENTRAL to our survival as a species. Stewardship of our environment is everyone’s responsibility and we have to approach this problem with this mindset.

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