WASHINGTON (CN) – The National Marine Fisheries Service has placed new restrictions on the number of allowable fishing days for purse seine boats in the western and central Pacific Ocean to catch tuna.
The new limit is 7,764 fishing days (a fishing day is an eight hour shift for each boat licensed in the fishery) for the entire three-year 2009-2011 period.
A purse seine is a large fishing net that hangs vertically in the water by attaching weights along the bottom edge and floats along the top and has a closure at the bottom to prevent fish from swimming below the net to escape. The nets are used to encircle a school of fish, with the fishing boat driving around the school.
Although the purse seine is an effective method of catching fish that gather in large schools, it also results in unintended by catch, especially of sea turtles that become entangled in the net. For this reason boats in the fishery are required to carry special equipment to free sea turtles from the nets without injuring them.
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