16 Mar 2006

Honolulu based council wants million dollar fish business to close

11:36 am on 16 March 2006

The Honolulu-based Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council voted yesterday to ask the U.S. Department of Commerce to immediately close the multimillion-dollar Hawaii longline swordfish fishery.

Under new rules, if a total of 16 leatherback turtles or 17 loggerhead turtles are hooked by longlines in a single year, swordfishing must be closed for the rest of the year.

The council says so far 15 loggerheads and one leatherback have been hooked this year.

Longlines, which can extend for 60 miles and drag thousands of hooks, were banned in 2002 because endangered sea turtles were being caught, but the restriction was lifted in 2004.