Environmental groups sue to stop US rule they say leads to bigeye tuna overfishing in Pacific

Associated Press

Environmental groups are suing the National Marine Fisheries Service to challenge a new rule for fishing bigeye tuna, a popular species for sushi and fish steaks.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Honolulu on Thursday says the regulation undermines international efforts to end overfishing of bigeye.

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The complaint says the rule invents separate catch limits for American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The lawsuit says each U.S. territory can then allocate half of its catch limit to Hawaii-based longline fishing vessels.

The groups say this nearly doubles the amount of bigeye that U.S. ships may catch in the central and western Pacific. Earthjustice and three other groups want the court to void the rule.

The federal agency couldn't immediately be reached for comment.