Hawaii’s longline fleet about to hit its 3,554-ton bigeye tuna limit, enviro scorned rule will keep them fishing

Honolulu Fish Auction ahi tuna workersHawaii’s longline fleet is about to hit its 3,554-ton limit for bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific, prompting a closure date for the fishery of July 22, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The longliners had caught an estimated 98 percent of their annual quota by Wednesday, National Marine Fisheries Service reported. The feds had been predicting longliners would hit their bigeye tuna limit by Aug. 14. But the closure will likely be short-lived thanks to a federal rule that proposes, like in years past, allowing U.S. Pacific Island territories — American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands — to each allocate up to 1,000 tons of their 2,000-ton quotas to U.S. longliners under a “specified fishing agreement.” David Henkin, staff attorney for Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization, calls it a “shell game” that allows overfishing, but the courts have so far disagreed. Read the rest here 10:23

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