Whales, dolphins and other sea life are often inadvertantly killed by huge mile-long nets set adrift in the water. These “gill nets” are hung in the ocean to catch other large fish, but they ensnare and drown many unintended targets.
Oceana is campaigning to help California lawmakers end the use of gillnets off the coast of California. Washington and Oregon already prohibit the use of these nets and Oregon.
Kata Mara is helping spread the word as the issue is considered in the California legislature.
Spectacular ocean wildlife — like whales, dolphins, sea lions, and sea turtles — rely on the nutrient-rich waters off the U.S. West Coast to feed, migrate, and breed. Unfortunately many of these species, such as sperm whales, fin whales, loggerhead sea turtles and leatherback sea turtles are threatened or endangered, and they face further risk of entrapment or death in unselective fishing gears like drift gillnets.
These mile long nets are set at night in ocean waters off California to target swordfish and thresher sharks, but create deadly traps for other wildlife that cannot break free from the mesh. Nearly 60 different species of marine life have been documented to drown or become critically injured in these nets. The swordfish is the target species, but the fishery throws back more marine life than it keeps — discarding on average 60 percent of all animals caught in its nets.
. . . California lawmakers have called for a transition to cleaner gears in order to ensure a vibrant, healthy, sustainable marine ecosystem and ocean-based economy for California waters into the future. In the meantime it is essential that meaningful hard caps are set for whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and fish species inadvertently captured by this fishery. If any limit is hit, the fishery would shut down for the remainder of the season.