Fish Agency Keeps Higher Bluefin Retention Limits

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Even though landings of bluefin tuna by domestic fisheries are down, the National Marine Fisheries Service will keep the current retention limit of three medium sized or one giant fish per day for the rest of the 2011 fishing season.
     The agency raised the retention limit from two medium sized fish to three fish less than 6 feet 1 inch in June to encourage individual boats to make up for the overall decline in landings by the domestic fishery.
     Despite the elevated three-fish daily retention limit, as of Aug. 8, only 86.9 metric tons of the 2011 commercial blue fin tuna quota of 435.1 metric tons have been landed.
     Had the agency not acted, the retention limit would have automatically reverted on Sept. 1 to the original 2011 limit of one fish per boat per day.
     In June, despite a world wide decline in catch from nearly 19,000 tons in 1964 to just over 1,900 tons in 2009 of the world’s premium species for such-grade fish, the agency declined to list the bluefin tuna as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

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