A Bill extending the fishing zone to 200 miles from the United States coastline has met unexpected opposition - from some of the fishermen it's designed to protect.
A Bill extending the fishing zone to 200 miles from the United States coastline has met unexpected opposition - from some of the fishermen it's designed to protect. Fishermen on the east coast support the proposal, now before the US Senate, but their tuna-fishing colleagues on the west are strongly against it.
The tuna fishermen of southern California fear that if the United States extends its limit from the present 12 miles to the proposed 200 miles, the Mexican Government will retaliate with a similar measure. This would close off the richest fishing ground available to the California tuna men. At present during the tuna run, they concentrate on short - lucrative - trips south into Mexican waters, well within 200 miles of the coast.
More than half the canned seafood consumed in the United States in tuna fish - the largest catch in the country's fishing industry. Last year 75 per cent of the world's tuna catch was taken within 200 miles of the American coastline, from Canada south to Peru. The Californian tuna men say the new limit would place them in financial peril. For example, one recent haul of 65 tons, caught off Mexico in just three days, sold for 35,000 dollars (Approximately GBP 14,0000 sterling).
The Bill is currently being studied by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and it's expected to go before the full Senate later this month, or early in September. The Legislators say the Bill will protect United States fishermen from increased foreign competition. The tuna men claim, in their case, the result will be the exact opposite. As far as they're concerned there's enough tuna in the sea for everyone.