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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

Aug 17, 2018 Tina Mitchell
Aug 16, 2018 Catherine Hertfelder
Aug 15, 2018 Heidi Siebens
Aug 14, 2018 Kimberly Boden
Aug 8, 2018 Vianney Ventura
Aug 8, 2018 bruce hall
Aug 7, 2018 Sandra Backelund
Aug 5, 2018 Robert Ortiz
Aug 5, 2018 Deanna Phillips
Aug 4, 2018 Marcelo Gusmao
Aug 4, 2018 Alicyn Rivera
Aug 4, 2018 Chelsea Rivera
Aug 4, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Aug 4, 2018 Leslie Williams
Aug 3, 2018 Sandra and Chris Wanamaker
Aug 3, 2018 Lois Ball
Aug 3, 2018 Carol McMahon
Aug 2, 2018 Carmen Blakely
Aug 2, 2018 julie Alicea
Aug 2, 2018 Sandra Schomberg
Aug 2, 2018 Roswitha Marcuzzi
Aug 2, 2018 Evangeline Miranda
Aug 2, 2018 Rick Hodorowich
Aug 2, 2018 Ani Wangmo
Aug 2, 2018 Cathy King-Chuparkoff
Aug 2, 2018 Susan Frederick
Aug 2, 2018 Barbara Greenwood
Aug 2, 2018 Helen Torosian
Aug 2, 2018 Deborah Iannizzotto
Aug 2, 2018 Haley Svec
Aug 2, 2018 Pia Heyn
Aug 2, 2018 Penny Fleischman
Aug 2, 2018 CAROL BECK
Aug 2, 2018 Paulette Tipper
Jul 30, 2018 Mary Schannach
Jul 30, 2018 Staci Sherwood
Jul 30, 2018 Misti Kane
Jul 21, 2018 Kathy Shimata
Jul 21, 2018 Susan Verser
Jul 21, 2018 chris mills
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)

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