Are you a pelagic longline fisherman in the Gulf, and interested in helping restore oceanic fish species? The 2020 Oceanic Fish Restoration Project is open for eligible vessel owners to submit quotes to participate. Visit the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s website and resources to learn more, and return the necessary forms to them no later than October 23, 2019.
Many species of oceanic (or pelagic) fish in the Gulf of Mexico were injured during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including tuna, billfish, and others. This 6-year restoration project’s goal is to restore impacts from the oil spill to both target and non-target fish species by giving them time to grow and reproduce.
The project structure includes financial incentives to a portion of the Gulf of Mexico pelagic longline fishing community to refrain from fishing with pelagic longline gear for 6 months starting in January. 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 utilizing new types of fishing hooks to adhering to fishing area closures. This project, and vessel owner participation in it, will help the Gulf’s fisheries remain sustainable in the years to come.