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Goal: 30,000 Progress: 1,983
Sponsored by: The Rainforest Site

Since the 1970s, fishermen off the California coast have been using a fishing technique that indiscriminately kills everything in its path — drift gillnets. These nets, which have only 14-inch openings, are a mile long and are dropped from boats 100 feet into the ocean [1]. Whatever swims into the nets are harvested and pulled to the surface. According to NOAA research, California fishermen throw back 60-80 percent [2] of what they catch with gillnets — that's because a lot of what they are catching is precious, threated, and endangered species.

Used by fisheries to catch swordfish, drift gillnets actually catch whales, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, and other species of marine life [3]. And despite being banned nearly everywhere else, California still uses these huge nets in its fishing industry. It's something that has to stop now.

In the last 25 years, according to NOAA estimates [4], hundreds of endangered sea turtles, thousands of sea lions and dolphins, and tens of thousands of sharks have been killed by California drift gillnets. Leatherback turtles, one of the victims of drift gillnets, is already on the brink of extinction [5].

Biologist Todd Steiner said of drift gillnets, "everything that swims into it becomes its victim," calling them "invisible curtains of death [6]." To make matters worse, what fishing boats catch in the nets and don't keep is just tossed back into the ocean, injured or dead.

California's fishing industry must stop using drift gillnets in order to protect innocent, intelligent and precious marine mammals and endangered species. Sign the petition asking the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to ban the use of these barbaric fishing nets. Our precious marine species must be protected before they are extinct!

Sign Here

Pacific Fishery Management Council and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

The use of drift gillnets by California's fishing industry must come to an end. As the only state to allow this type of fishing technique, California is sorely behind the times – and much worse, its fisheries are injuring and killing thousands of innocent, intelligent, and endangered species of sea creatures and marine mammals.

California allows the use of drift gillnets — hundred-foot-long mesh nets — for catching swordfish which indiscriminately catch anything that floats or swims into its clutches. This includes sharks, dolphins, whales, sea lions, sea turtles and other species. The leatherback turtle is one victim of the drift gillnets and is already on the brink of extinction. Other protected sea life injured or killed by these nets each year are dolphins and whales.

NBC's coverage of the issue revealed that, "In 2011, NOAA released its first-ever national report detailing how often marine mammals are negatively impacted by fishing gear across the country. According to the report, California's drift gillnets kill and injure marine animals at a rate higher than any other type of fishing gear used along the west coast." The most dangerous method of fishing being used by one – and only one — state is still one state too many.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conducts limited observations of fishing vessels and their practices. Yet from these observations NOAA estimates that in the last 25 years tens of thousands of innocent and endangered sea creatures have been caught by California's drift gillnets and tossed back into the ocean, many of them injured or dead.

Simply sweeping the ocean with drift gillnets and hoping to catch a few swordfish among the rest of the nets' victims is in no way fitting with a modern, civilized culture. Other states and even the United Nations have taken actions to either ban or limit the use of the nets. More targeted, humane methods of fishing like the use of harpoons must be established instead of using drift gillnets.

Whether unintentionally caught in the nets or casually disregarded as collateral damage in the efforts to catch swordfish, California's continued use of drift gillnets is archaic, uncivilized and unethical.

I ask that you immediately move to ban the use of drift gillnets by California's fishing industry and protect the innocent and endangered sea creatures they injure and kill annually. These species of marine mammals and sea life are too precious, intelligent and valued to be wiped out by a fishing industry that would rather take a lazy approach than an ethical one. Ban drift gillnets now before more sea life is killed.


Petition Signatures

Jul 20, 2018 Jeanette Kelly
Jul 19, 2018 Ingeborg Perner
Jul 19, 2018 Vanessa Bäßler
Jul 19, 2018 Lanette Rapp
Jul 19, 2018 e raven
Jul 19, 2018 Laura Krause
Jul 19, 2018 Diane Taylor
Jul 16, 2018 A.C. Samuel
Jul 15, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jul 14, 2018 Jeffrey Diehl
Jul 12, 2018 Stanley Jenkins
Jul 10, 2018 Colin Stewart
Jul 9, 2018 Harry Anchan
Jun 30, 2018 Ellen Prior
Jun 30, 2018 Teresa Brooks
Jun 30, 2018 Linda Cypert
Jun 30, 2018 Diane Manzano Please ban the use of drift gillnets by California's fishing industry before more innocent and endangered sea creatures are killed or injured.
Jun 29, 2018 Jacklyn Yancy
Jun 29, 2018 Victoria Berrueco
Jun 29, 2018 Brian Gottejman
Jun 29, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jun 28, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jun 28, 2018 Jayne Riley Please ban the use of drift gillnets. They are death to all sort of animals and some on the brink of extinction. Please bring their use to an end before it is too late.
Jun 26, 2018 Becky Tank
Jun 24, 2018 Marc Ochs
Jun 24, 2018 R Carsten
Jun 22, 2018 Eve Lee
Jun 21, 2018 Vitor Costa
Jun 21, 2018 Muriel BOU
Jun 17, 2018 Sven Emmert
Jun 16, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jun 16, 2018 Rebecca Holzer
Jun 11, 2018 carol king
Jun 10, 2018 Robert & Virginia Ilardi
Jun 10, 2018 ANNA BARRANCO
Jun 9, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jun 8, 2018 Lisa-May Reynolds
Jun 8, 2018 Sandra Kuschel
Jun 8, 2018 Carolina Costa
Jun 8, 2018 Jürgen Breu
Jun 8, 2018 Nancy Fleming
Jun 5, 2018 Siti Arafah
Jun 5, 2018 Christopher Dean
Jun 4, 2018 Charlene Kerchevall
Jun 4, 2018 joan silaco
Jun 3, 2018 Martha Eberle
Jun 3, 2018 Victor/Carol Ignaczak
Jun 2, 2018 Irene Serrano-Osborn
Jun 1, 2018 Deirdre Gately

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