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Tunas follow the food fish to Canada

August 02, 2007

Portland Press Herald
Maine Voices
August 2, 2007
By Chris Weiner of Portland, Maine

Regarding your article July 8 titled “Waiting for the bluefin”

As someone who has been very involved in bluefin management my whole life, I am very glad to see the Portland Press Herald discussing the gross overfishing by the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean fisheries.

The European Union, along with Asian and African nations, have been blatantly catching far more than they are allocated at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, and this concerns us all.

Nobody in the bluefin fishery here in the United States would deny the importance of getting those nations to comply with the rules. The U.S. fishery has bent over backward for decades now to conserve bluefin—by cutting quotas and following strict size rules—and the other ICCAT nations have been going in the opposite direction.

All of us here agree that there would be more fish in the ocean if those nations would follow the rules. But myself and others were disappointed with the lack of emphasis your article put on the lack of forage off the northeast U.S. and how that has hurt the U.S. bluefin fishery. Many of us here believe that the reason we have not caught our quotas in recent years is mostly due to the large midwater trawl fishery for herring, the key forage fish that bring bluefin into our waters.

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