Author: Bullbuster Team
Don't Let History Repeat Itself
Many of us are too young to remember longlining off the coast of Florida for swordfish or even the impressive rebound that happened after they were banned in 2000. Lets not take two steps back and forget our history but instead move forward to an even better swordfish fishery for future generations.
A NOAA proposal has been introduced to allow a research long lining program using circle hooks to target swords in a small area off Central Florida. This is a dangerous precedent. Find out why below:
A Swordfish Crash & Rebound We Can't Forget
From the late 1970's to the early 1980's night time swordfishing in Florida was all the rage. There were tons of night time tournaments with recreational anglers getting into the sport until the longline fishery got out of hand making targeting swords harder and harder and leading to the closures of many swordfish.
(Check Out This 2007 Salt Water Sportsman Talking About The Return Of Nightime Swordfishing To South Florida)
(History Of Night Time Swordfish Tournaments In South Florida)
It was not until the ban of swordfish longlines that the fishery started picking up again. Swordfish populations went from almost decimated to a fishery where even amateurs had a decent shot of landing a big swordfish. (In 2004 anglers were talking about fishing off of South Florida at night and never getting skunked, consistently getting multiple hookups). This was before the daytime swordfishing craze that brought even more fishermen into the sport or the buoy fishery off of South Florida.
If you speak to most recreational fishermen they would say that the bite has turned off more than it once was at night. Most anglers are only catching swords during the day. So with a decrease in population, why is this a time to add additional pressure.
Veteran swordfishermen such as Cpt. Bouncer Smith and Cpt. Nick Stanzyk have even begun to tag and release small but extremely tasty swords to be caught another day. This is not a time add a longline boat off the coast of Florida.
Why Is Long Lining Such A Big Deal?
"Longlines are responsible for 92.1% of white marlin mortallity" (White Marlin Open 2001)
Long lining is a method where commercial fishermen let out miles (sometimes more than 15 miles) of lines with thousands of hooks that indiscriminately hook swordfish (juveniles included), sharks, sailfish, mahi, tuna, marlin and even sea turtles. For swordfish specifically this is a big problem because they do not replace themselves by reproducing until they hit about 150 Lbs.
Check Out This Florida Sportsman Excerpt Of Where A Longliner Explains The Toll Long Lining Takes On Billfish:
"That night there must have been a migration of white marlin. We landed seven dead whites, one blue marlin, one sailfish and six broadbill...during the year of 1984 we landed as many blue, white marlin and sailfish, as we did swordfish." (Read The Rest Of This Article)
Anytime you take a 50 -120 Lb swordfish, you are not helping the fishery out, now imagine taking hundreds if not thousands of juvenile fish out of the fishery every week. Many fish from longlines are already dead by the time they get to the boat (or close to it). Just because they release a juvenile fish does not mean its going to survive.
Opportunity For Fishermen & Conservationists To Work Together
The fight to keep longliners out of the Florida Straits is not a new one. Below a SwordfishCentral forum user in 2004 enlists himself in the fight against longlines.
You can see the full conversation about the another attempt to re-open a longline fishery in South Florida (HERE)
Below is an Audubon Article on how longline fisheries kill not only swordfish but sharks, sea turtles, and birds.
How You Can Get Involved!
The first thing you can do is spread the word through social media. Next sign the petition to make your voice heard. (Click Here To Sign The Petition)
Below is the link to NOAA's actual press release:
Our Goal Is To Help You Spend More Time Fishing
Bullbuster Brand Direct, Inc. was founded to save anglers time and money when buying fishing lines by pioneering the concept of the Brand Direct Fishing Line. We also curate a online magazine called the Bullbuster Community with hundreds of articles and more than 50 contributors thats mission is to provide you with information that will help you spend more time fishing.