12 Mar 2012

Agreement on rules to allow American Samoa longline fishery

11:33 am on 12 March 2012

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council meeting in Guam has agreed to management measures that will permit a longline fishery for swordfish to develop in American Samoa.

The council says measures currently in place inhibit the fishery as they require longline vessels to set hooks below 100 meters to deter interactions with sea turtles.

The new measures will allow longline vessels to set in shallower depths, where the swordfish are found, but take observers on the vessels when required by the federal National Marine Fishery Service to document interactions with sea turtles and seabirds.

The measures mimic those in place for the Hawaii longline fishery, including the requirements to use large circle hooks and mackerel bait to mitigate sea turtle interactions.