A bipartisan bill to ban controversial driftnet fishing off California’s coast was introduced last month to lessen the amount of bycatch when targeting swordfish.
The practice of allowing the U.S. west coast fishery to still use large mesh drift gillnets is insane. The fact that this method of fishing is still allowed shows how much influence the commercial fishing industry has with the federal fishery management council. Large mesh drift gillnets have been recognized as destructive for decades. The gear is not compatible with conservation, responsible fishery management or responsible use of public marine resources.
This gear is already banned in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, as well as off many parts of the west coast. Additionally, the United States is a signatory to international agreements that ban large drift nets in international waters. So why are they still used?
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