As bluefin recover, a new fight about how to fish for them

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A plan that could loosen the rules about fishing for one of the most debated species in the ocean has attracted the attention of fishermen and environmentalists.

Conservation of the Atlantic bluefin tuna has long been a subject of international debate, and sometimes discord. The giant sushi fish are at a fraction of historical population levels, but have shown positive signs in recent years.

The federal government is considering some changes to the way the fish are managed. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the rules would give fishermen more flexibility about accidental catch of bluefin in places including the Gulf of Mexico, a critical spawning area.

Environmental groups caution the change could undo years of work to save the bluefin, which sell for huge sums. NOAA’s taking comments until Sept. 30.

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