Calling all pelagic fishers in Gulf of Mexico

Pelagic longline fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico are being invited to help restore stock levels damaged by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Photo: NOAA Pelagic longline fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico are being invited to help restore stock levels damaged by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Photo: NOAA

Pelagic longline fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico are being invited to help restore oceanic fish species that are yet to recover following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Many species of oceanic (or pelagic) fish in the Gulf were injured during the BP oil spill, including tuna, billfish, and others. The 2020 Oceanic Fish Restoration Project aims to restore stock levels of both target and non-target fish species by giving them time to grow and reproduce.

The project structure includes financial incentives encouraging a proportion of the Gulf of Mexico pelagic longline fishing community to refrain from fishing of this type for six months beginning in January 2020. It also provides options to use alternative gear types that reduce bycatch of non-target species. It is funded from part of early restoration funds as part of the legal settlement with BP for the 2010 spill.

Pelagic longliners in the Gulf of Mexico have a strong history of helping to ensure their fisheries are sustainable, from using new types of fishing hooks to adhering to fishing area closures. It is hoped that this project will help the Gulf’s fisheries remain sustainable in the years to come.

Eligible vessel owners have until 23 October 2019 to submit quotes to participate. More information can be found at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s website.

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