Submit a Quote: Gulf Pelagic Longliners Can Help Restore Fish Impacted by Deepwater Horizon

Yellowfin tuna caught in the Gulf of Mexico with bycatch-reducing gear. © Jay Fleming

Pelagic longline fishermen in the Gulf are invited to submit a quote to participate in the 2020 Oceanic Fish Restoration Project. Visit the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s (NFWF) website and resources to learn more, and return the necessary forms no later than October 23, 2019.

Many species of oceanic (or pelagic) fish in the Gulf of Mexico were injured during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, including tuna, billfish, and others. Managed by NOAA, the Oceanic Fish Restoration Project is a is 6-year effort to restore impacts from the oil spill to fish species by giving them time to grow and reproduce, and reducing fish mortality from bycatch.

The project structure includes financial incentives for participating members of the Gulf of Mexico pelagic longline fishing community to refrain from fishing with pelagic longline gear for 6 months starting in January. It also provides options to use alternative gear types that reduce bycatch of species that are not the targeted catch of longliners.

The first three years of the project have resulted in clear benefits related to the reduction in bycatch when fishermen opt in to use the alternative gear. The amount of bycatch caught was minimal and many that were caught were released alive.

The Ocean Fish Restoration Project is funded by the legal settlement for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Previously named the Pelagic Longline Bycatch Reduction Project in the Final Phase IV Early Restoration Plan, it is being implemented as a partnership between NOAA, pelagic fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico, and NFWF.