Volume 71

Swordfish Mangement: How One Exemption Could Impact a Decade Long Management Techniques’ Success

Serena Scott
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Other Information

Date: November, 2018

Pages: 415

Event: Proceedings of the Seventy Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: San Andres Island

Country: Colombia


Swordfish are Highly Migratory Species (HMS) targeted recreationally and commercially. In recent years these fish have faced population declines along parts of the Atlantic Ocean, specifically of the coast of Florida. Following the collapse to swordfish in the late 1980’s, as well as the 23%of bycatch caused from the commercial swordfish longlining industry, there was a longline fishing moratorium marine protected area (MPA) implemented known as the East Florida coast Atlan-tic Pelagic Longline closure area which banned longlining within a certain area off the coast of Florida (Keledjian, et al., 2014). This specific area was chosen as the closure area due to its importance in swordfish spawning. The closure area was implemented to decrease bycatch from commercial longliners and improve swordfish stocks is now being threatened by a potential Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) to determine if the conservation method has been suc-cessful. While less destructive techniques are available, the EFP will be utilizing the same technique that has been proven to catch juvenile swordfish and an abundance of bycatch. To understand the potential impacts of an EFP may have, it is best to look at comparable fishery management tech-niques and management policies as well as geographical information systems to study migration behavior and stock num-bers to estimate potential impacts such an EFP may have. A healthy fishery, ecosystem and recreational fishing industry relies heavily on a sustainable populations and access to fishing grounds not disturbed by large-scale commercial fishing. A decision like this allowing an EFP could have harmful lasting effects and potentially impact how other fisheries are man-aged globally.

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