Inouye-influenced rule enables extra Hawaii tuna fishing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Inouye-influenced rule enables extra Hawaii tuna fishing

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By AUDREY McAVOY
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii can thank the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye for the plentiful ahi tuna found at parties around the islands during the holidays.

That's because a federal rule allowing Hawaii-based fishermen to catch more bigeye tuna than permitted under international agreements can be traced to his time as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

In 2010, catch limits forced Hawaii fishermen to stop catching bigeye in waters west of Hawaii in November. That left Hawaii markets without much locally-caught tuna just holiday demand spiked.

This year, Hawaii longline fishermen hit their limit in August. But the National Marine Fisheries Service created new limits for U.S. territories like Guam and allowed Hawaii's fleet to use up to half of them.

Congress directed federal agencies to create the quota shifting program in a 2012 appropriations bill.

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