A proposed measure by the federal Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) that considered authorizing a Shallow Set Longline fishery for swordfish in waters off California is dead in the water. Had the gear been approved, an increase in bycatch mortality would have occurred by replacing one bad fishing gear (drift gill nets) for another (shallow set longline gear). The PFMC’s decision was made just after TBF and others exerted strong opposition to the proposal. At the conclusion of the PFMC’s November meeting on the 20th, it was dropped. The PFMC is the same organization that banned recently drift gillnets fishing for swordfish.
Such a positive response from the PFMC after TBF’s board member Chase Offield testified at the meeting with many others showing their opposition is a huge win for conservation. Now, more than ever, it shows that when organizations and individuals make their voices heard, regulatory agencies will respond. We will keep monitoring the situation to see what else could negatively affect our community in the future.
To read the comments submitted by TBF President Ellen Peel, click here. For more articles regarding the history of gear regulations off California, click here, here, and here. To stay up-to-date on all things billfish, become a member, subscribe to our newsletter, or follow us on social media, @TheBillfishFoundation.