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NOAA rejects request to list Pacific bluefin tuna as endangered

The NMMA said today that NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service turned down a proposal on Monday to list Pacific bluefin tuna under the Endangered Species Act.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association said NOAA Fisheries conducted a comprehensive year-long review after a coalition of environmental-based organizations proposed that bluefin tuna fishing be banned in U.S. waters.

The American Sportfishing Association, with support from the California Coastal Conservation Association, the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation and the Coastside Fishing Club and other organizations, submitted comprehensive comments last December noting that tuna stocks are recovering and that all but 5 percent of the fishery occurs outside U.S. waters in Asia and Mexico.

The ASA said it approves the decision that NOAA Fisheries made.

“NOAA's science-based decision affirms ASA’s position that international efforts are needed to conserve and build Pacific bluefin tuna stocks; however, it’s important to understand that these popular sportfish are in no way endangered,” Scott Gudes, ASA’s government affairs vice president, said in a statement.

In its review NOAA found that most recent stock assessments for Pacific bluefin tuna projected population increases and that the species is “on a positive trajectory.” NOAA noted in a statement that the greatest threat is overfishing by non-domestic commercial fleets.

“Bluefin tuna fishing is an important sport fishery in Southern California that has an economic impact in that area,” Gudes said. “We made this clear in our comments to the petition. August is the high season for recreational fishing for these pelagic fish. NOAA Fisheries’ decision is welcome news to anglers and the businesses that depend on recreational fishing, from San Diego up the coast to the Los Angeles area.”

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