Hooks to protect bluefin required May 5 in Gulf
NEW ORLEANS- Starting May 5, commercial fishermen using longlines in the Gulf of Mexico must use hooks designed to straighten out when grabbed by bluefin tuna.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says so-called "weak hooks," will hold yellowfin tuna, swordfish, and other commercial species - but cut the amount of accidentally caught bluefin by 56 percent.
The National Marine Fisheries Service says yellowfin tuna landed in the Gulf average 86 pounds, while bluefin caught in the longline fishery average 485 pounds.
The Center for Biological Diversity wants the National Marine Fisheries Service to declare bluefin endangered. Attorney Catherine Kilduff says the hook requirement announced Friday is a good step but not enough.
An international commission refused in November to halt bluefin fishing or slash international quotas.