In our June issue, the lead news story, “Longliners Latest Ploy Thwarted,” incorrectly reported that an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) application for longlining swordfish in the Longline Closed Zone off Florida had been withdrawn. This was inaccurate. The EFP application withdrawn was in fact a “catch share” exemption in the snapper-grouper fishery. We misconstrued press information and failed to acknowledge the two separate issues, and repeated the erroneous information in the” Letter from the Editor.”
As of mid-May, the EFP application for longlining in Florida’s East Coast Longline Closed Zone was still under consideration by the National Marine Fisheries Service. The exemption would allow six vessels, with an additional seven backup vessels, to make up to 1,080 longline sets per year (each with up to 750 hooks), for up to three years, with an option to extend that period. Catch results would be evaluated to determine the effectiveness of the 16-year closure (the zone was closed in 2001 to protect juvenile swordfish and other species) by comparing fishing results with those in waters that remained open to longlining. Fish caught would be sold to offset expenses.