Panama to add longlining restrictions

After banning commercial purse seining from its waters in July, the Republic of Panama has taken further steps adding restrictions on longlining for the conservation of its marine life and its socio-economic growth.

In letters to Panamanian officials, Ellen Peel, President of The Billfish Foundation (TBF) and Chris Fischer founder of OCEARCH, applauded the government for becoming the first of the seven Central America nations to restrict pelagic longline gear within its waters.

The practice of commercial longlining in the region uses hundreds of baited hooks attached to short lengths of line spaced at intervals to main lines. The longliners target swordfish and tuna, but also hook bycatch species including sharks, turtles and recreational billfish such as marlin and sailfish.