HONOLULU (AP) - Conservation groups say the longline fishing industry is at risk of losing rights to fish for tuna in a large swath of ocean south of the Hawaii Islands.
Earlier this week, the National Marine Fisheries Service confirmed that a false killer whale most likely suffered a fatal injury when it was hooked by a longline tuna fishing boat Jan. 29.
Under new federal rules, a second such incident would trigger a closure for the rest of the year to tuna longline fishing in a large area south of the main islands.
The Fisheries Service says longline fishing is killing false killer whales found within 87 miles of the main islands at nearly twice the rate the population can sustain. False killer whales are a large dolphin species.