Well ask and you shall receive. In my last blog I mentioned that things have been quiet on the bluefin tuna front, but some news has come out of Florida.
Four fisherman have found themselves in hot water after attempting to sell a 700+ pound bluefin tuna in Florida. Being an Endangered Species, the bluefin tuna is under strict fishing regulations in the United States. Regulations that these four fisherman have decided to neglect. The four fisherman are not in possession of any permits or forms that states they are allowed to fish for, sell, or land bluefin tuna. Apparently, the fisherman had been bragging about and trying to sell the fish on Facebook. That didn't go over too well when NOAA caught wind of it. The fish has been confiscated by Florida's Fish and Wildlife. The punishment of the fisherman is still unknown as the details on this case haven't really come out yet.
This wasn't going to be the theme of this campaign, but it seems that fisherman making poor choices is becoming a trend here. There are plenty of fisherman who want to go out, catch bluefin tuna, and make a very pretty penny. The problem is there are very few of these fish left and as a result, the United States has strict laws protecting them. Much like the guy who caught that mako shark a few weeks back, these fisherman wanted nothing more than to catch this "monster" fish and either brag about it or make a pretty penny. In my opinion, these fisherman need to be punished to the fullest extent of the law, whatever it may be. There is no difference in catching a bluefin tuna, or any other animal out of season and poachers in Africa. It's the same thing. These people are poachers and should frankly be treated as such. People simply cannot continue to just take these endangered fish out of the wild. It is bad enough that on the other side of the world, these animals are literally being wiped out. It's entirely possible that the bluefin tuna that migrate by Florida en route to the Gulf of Mexico to breed could someday, in the not distant future, will be the last of the bluefin.
Long line fishing continues to be a major threat to these fish in the Atlantic Ocean as well. In fact, the National Marine Fisheries Service has put an end to Atlantic longline bluefin tuna fishing for the rest of 2013. I've mentioned longline fishing in many of my shark blogs and in my first bluefin tuna blog. It is a very unneeded style of fishing that really has no place on this planet. Bluefin tuna, like many species of shark, must swim in order to breathe. Any bluefin that bites a longline hook and gets entangled will drown. Any bluefin that is caught dead for any length of time is useless to the fisherman and are usually discarded with countless other species of animals.
I will be keeping you all up to date on the story about the fisherman catching the tuna in Florida as more details come out. I will be doing a blog on long line fishing in the near future as I have not done one exclusively on that subject. That blog will involve bluefin tuna, sharks, and manta rays along with a slew of other animals. I warn you all that it will be a very sad and graphic blog targeting that style of fishing. For now, do the ocean a favor. Do not consume bluefin tuna. These fish are more valuable to the sea than they are to your digestive system where they will deposit mercury... If you are interested in learning more about efforts going on to save bluefin tuna worldwide check out http://www.pewtrusts.org/our_work_detail.aspx?id=963