NMFS proposes suspension of circle-hook requirement

I wonder who could be behind this abominable decision. By Staff Wed, Mar 14, 2007 The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced a proposed suspension of the circle hook requirement in Atlantic billfish tournaments for the remainder of 2007. The original circle-hook law, which was implemented January 1, 2007, requires all HMS permitted vessels fishing in Atlantic billfish tournaments to use only circle hooks when fishing dead baits. The purpose of the law, according to the NMFS, was to reduce post-release deaths among Atlantic billfish. Many public comments have been received by the NMFS since the enforcement of the law began. While many anglers saw the law as an important step in billfish conservation, others had concerns as to the effectiveness of circle hooks when fishing for species such as blue marlin. In the face of such public dissent, the NMFS has decided that the best course of action is to give tournament anglers more time in adjusting to the new regulations. If the suspension is approved, anglers will be able to use J-hooks for the remainder of 2007. The circle hook regulation will again be enforced starting January 1, 2008. Public comments on this proposed rule should be emailed to [email protected] by March 30, 2007.