Target: Thomas Warren, National Marine Fisheries Service
Goal: Protect the bluefin tuna, an amazing and highly endangered fish, from extinction
The bluefin tuna is an amazing aquatic predator that can swim up to fifty miles an hour, and dive 4,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface. The species is one of the best visual hunters of any fish, feeding on smaller fish like mackerel and herring. An adult bluefin tuna can live up to forty years and weigh well over 1,000 pounds. But these incredible fish are also among the most endangered large animals in the oceans.
Bluefin tuna are caught for food by industrial fishing fleets – but one of the biggest threats to the tuna’s survival comes from fishing operations designed to catch completely different species, which end up killing tuna as “bycatch.” The practice of longline fishing, which involves setting lines that extend across vast areas of ocean with hundreds of hooks attached, indiscriminately kills bluefin tuna and other endangered animals, even when those species are not the intended targets. By limiting the practice of longlining, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) can help save the bluefin tuna from extinction.
The NMSF is currently taking comments on a proposal that would restrict longline fishing in certain parts of the ocean, and limit the number of “bycatch” tuna that fishing operations kill. Passing and strengthening this existing proposal could give bluefin tuna a shot at survival, at a time when this incredible fish is perilously close to extinction. Sign the petition below to urge the NMSF to take swift action to protect bluefin tuna.
Dear Mr. Warren,
We, the undersigned, are writing to urge the NMSF to take decisive steps to protect the bluefin tuna, by limiting the practice of longline fishing. We are glad to hear that NMSF is proposing measures to reduce bluefine tuna bycatch, and urge you to move forward with the strongest possible regulations.
Whenever possible, fishing fleets should be encouraged to use less wasteful alternatives to longline fishing, thereby saving hundreds of bluefin tuna and other at-risk species every year. Longline fishing should be banned altogether in particularly sensitive areas – including the Gulf of Mexico, which is the only known breeding ground for western Atlantic bluefins. There are other, more species-specific ways of catching fish, which would avoid the massive bycatch problem associated with longlining. By eliminating longlining in sensitive areas, NMSF can encourage a shift to more sustainable fishing practices.
If we don’t act now, there is a very real chance that the incredible bluefin tuna could go extinct in our lifetimes. Not only would it be a shame to lose such an amazing species, but the economic repercussions of losing this food fish would be severe as well. Please take a stand for conservation and sustainable fishing, and keep longline fishing out of critical bluefin tuna habitat.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: National Marine Fisheries Service