The Perfect Ploy
Environmentalists are trying to parlay the box-office success of the “The Perfect Storm,” a movie that follows the ill-fated voyage of a commercial fishing boat, into increased awareness of the depleted swordfish population in the Atlantic. SeaWeb, a conservation group running a public education campaign centered on the film, says too many swordfish are being caught before they have a chance to reproduce. Enviros are anxiously awaiting an Aug. 1 ruling by the National Marine Fisheries Service that may close nearly 200,000 square miles in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico to “pelagic longline” fishing, a controversial method believed to be contributing to the swordfish decline. Two bills in Congress would encourage swordfish and tuna longliners to give up their fishing permits in exchange for government compensation.