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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

Apr 20, 2018 E McDonald
Apr 18, 2018 Richard Shannahan Ban the use of drift gillnets by California's fishing industry, and stop the cruel slaughter of innocent and endangered sea creatures that they cause!
Apr 16, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Apr 16, 2018 Gilberto Simao
Apr 14, 2018 Suzanne Levi
Apr 14, 2018 Lisa Whipple
Apr 14, 2018 Marguerite Panzica
Apr 10, 2018 Barbara Tomlinson
Apr 10, 2018 Mary Whitcomb
Apr 7, 2018 Lisa vasta
Apr 7, 2018 natalie deboer
Apr 6, 2018 Martha Vest
Apr 6, 2018 Chris White
Apr 6, 2018 G. Tompkins
Apr 6, 2018 Shirley Cooksley
Apr 5, 2018 Casey Jo Remy
Apr 5, 2018 Mariah Oyondi
Apr 5, 2018 Randall Bong
Apr 4, 2018 Rosanne Anderson
Apr 2, 2018 Teresa Barquet
Apr 2, 2018 Cathleen Cascia
Apr 2, 2018 christine resch
Mar 30, 2018 Mary Smith
Mar 29, 2018 Sue Meyers
Mar 29, 2018 Julie Hansen
Mar 29, 2018 Sarah Chi
Mar 27, 2018 Angela Hembroff
Mar 27, 2018 Theresa DiTullio
Mar 27, 2018 Selena Millman
Mar 27, 2018 Susan Jenkins
Mar 27, 2018 Angelita Ritz
Mar 26, 2018 Candice C
Mar 26, 2018 Lens Lucas
Mar 26, 2018 arline lohli
Mar 26, 2018 barbara gale
Mar 25, 2018 Erin Sackmann
Mar 25, 2018 angus murris
Mar 25, 2018 Wendy Gretzlock
Mar 25, 2018 Sofi Nordstrom
Mar 25, 2018 Donna Gilbert
Mar 25, 2018 Axa Tolonen
Mar 25, 2018 becky hinson
Mar 25, 2018 Nancy Paskowitz
Mar 25, 2018 Quentin Fischer
Mar 24, 2018 Jane Lemison
Mar 23, 2018 Susan Diller
Mar 22, 2018 Erin Davidson
Mar 21, 2018 Tara Verbridge

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