World Swordfish Fisheries : An Analysis of Swordfish Fisheries, Market Trends, and Trade Patterns Past-Present-Future, Volume V. North America
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World Swordfish Fisheries : An Analysis of Swordfish Fisheries, Market Trends, and Trade Patterns Past-Present-Future, Volume V. North America

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World Swordfish Fisheries : An Analysis of Swordfish Fisheries, Market Trends, and Trade Patterns Past-Present-Future, Volume V. North America
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    "The North American fishery for swordfish includes Canada, Greenland, and the United States. Greenland is a minimal player catching only a small quantity of individual swordfish on an irregular basis. Canada, by contrast, ranks among the world's top ten producers of swordfish. Almost all of the Canadian harvest of swordfish (1,610 tons in 1995) is harvested in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean and is exported to the United States. The United States ranked as the world's fourth largest producer of swordfish in 1995, with an estimated catch of 5,916 tons.1 The United States catches swordfish both in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Canada and the United States are both members of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) while Greenland is not. ICCAT is an international organization whose members work to manage stocks of tuna and tuna-like species throughout the Atlantic Ocean. The total harvest of swordfish by all countries in the North Atlantic Ocean (Spain, Canada, Portugal, the United States, France, Japan and Bermuda) amounted to 9,559 tons in 1995. Canadian and U.S. east coast fishermen caught 2,825 tons in the North Atlantic Ocean. United States fishermen also caught 1,270 tons in the western central Atlantic Ocean, 22 tons in the northeastern Pacific Ocean and 3,409 tons in the southwestern Pacific Ocean for a total of 5,916 tons. The value of the total U.S. catch of swordfish (Atlantic and Pacific) of 5,916 tons was worth $37.3 million (exvessel) in 1995. U.S. seafood producers processed 2,920 tons of fresh and frozen fillets worth $36 million and 1,629 tons of steaks worth $16.9 million in 1995. Longlining is currently the primary method of harvesting swordfish in Canada. The fishery was very active in the 1960s when a record 6,888 tons was harvested. The sale of swordfish was banned in 1971 when it was discovered that mercury levels in most swordfish caught off Nova Scotia exceeded Health and Welfare Canada guidelines.3 The ban on sales was lilted in 1979 and harvests resumed their steady growth. In 1994, the longline harvest amounted to 1,654 tons out of a total of 1,676 tons landed by Canadian fishermen. This harvest declined to 1,409 tons out of 1,610 tons caught in 1995. Harpooning takes place when the swordfish is resting on the surface after feeding. In the United States swordfish fishing began as a harpoon fishery. Today the majority of swordfish are caught with longlines. There were at least 1,531 commercially permitted swordfish vessels operating in U.S. waters in 1995. Most of these are longline vessels. Approximately 300 Atlantic permitted vessels catch at least one swordfish each year. Most of these vessels are owned by individual entities. In California, the harpoon fishery began in the 1900s. In 1980 there were over 1,200 harpoon permits. Of these fewer than 300 vessels land harpooned swordfish annually. California also has an active driftnet fishery. Longlining in California did not begin until 1993. In Hawaii, longlining for tuna began in the early 1900s, but swordfish longlining did not begin until the 1980s. As on the Atlantic, most of the vessels are owned by individual entities"--Overview.
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