Sport-fishing Industry Saved by NOAA Decision on Marlins

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) agreed with Senator Tom Carper today that the Atlantic White Marlin should not be added to the Endangered Species List. Last month, Carper called on the NMFS to invest in greater research and conservation of the species but pointed out that the endangered species designation would cripple the economically important sport-fishing industry but do little to nothing to combat the marlin’s true threat – international fishing and over-harvesting. “I was opposed to the designation and believe this was the right decision. I am glad the NMFS was responsive to our concerns,” Carper said. “However, they can and should go further to develop a recovery plan for the majestic White Marlin that includes strong conservation measures and research.” In the case of the Atlantic White Marlin, the ability of the United States to manage the species is limited because the species is found and harvested throughout the Atlantic Ocean by vessels from dozens of countries who are not subject to U.S. law. In fact, mortality on this stock from U.S. commercial and recreational fisherman is quite low. For example, during the recent White Marlin Open tournament in Ocean City, Maryland – the largest recreational tournament for White Marlin – 1,065 were caught, and 98% of those, or 1,047, were immediately released alive back to the sea.