This November, we have a chance to end the use of destructive drift gillnets in our oceans. California commercial fishermen use large-mesh gillnets to catch swordfish, but the gear also entangles, injures and kills over 60 other species, including sharks, billfish, endangered marine turtles, marine mammals and scores of ocean fish. Because drift gillnets are indiscriminate, ensnaring all marine life in their path, they are prohibited off the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Washington state, Alaska, Oregon and Hawaii.
Very soon, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on The Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act which would phase out large mesh drift gillnets that are still used in California. The U.S. Senate has already passed this legislation unanimously. The Act complements a 2018 California law that revokes California state drift gillnet permits in 2024 and provides fishermen with financial assistance to switch to sustainable fishing gear.
Take this opportunity to tell your Representative to Vote to end the use of driftnets. Ocean conservation is a gift to our children and our grandchildren. We have an ocean of opportunity to change the way we fish for swordfish, help fishermen switch to selective gear and protect fishing opportunities for future generations.