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Swordfish Making a Comeback

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After Deadliest Catch‘s first year, there were suddenly a bunch of commercial fishing shows on TV. One of them was called Swords: Life on the Line, a catchy play on words about longliner fishing. Before the show even aired, there was a lot of talk within the fishing community: Are they going to show their bycatch? Aside from the bycatch issue, the species was already under pressure and they’re going to make a show about killing them?

Needless to say, the show didn’t last long. The good news, though, is that commercial fishing practices were amended, and the fishery has made a comeback.

sword_natureswallpaperSwordfish management is a success story. Overfished in the 1980s and ’90s, the swordfish stock has since been fully rebuilt, thanks to domestic and international conservation measures.

Recently, NOAA Fisheries Highly Migratory Species Division created a new open-access commercial swordfish fishery in federal waters to provide additional commercial swordfish harvest opportunities using gears that minimize bycatch.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several changes to state rules recently, many of which will allow fishermen who participate in this new commercial fishery to land and sell their catch in Florida. Recently adopted changes will go into effect Feb. 13.

Photos: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (top), Nature’s Wallpapers (above)