MEDIA ADVISORY Endangered Sea Turtles Vs. Swordfish Gillnets
Turtle Advocates Oppose Federal Plan for Gillnetting in Protected Sea Turtle Area along U.S. West Coast
|Leatherback entangled in drift gillnet. Photo Projecto Tamar Brazil.|
Vote Set for Sunday, March 10, at Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Tacoma
WHAT: Federal fishery managers will vote this week in Tacoma, WA, on whether to allow California's high bycatch drift gillnet fleet to fish for swordfish and entangle more endangered sea turtles in protected habitat along the U.S. West Coast that is now off limits for two months of the year.
Opposition includes ocean conservation groups, the California Coastal Commission, California State Assembly, scientists and the public.
WHEN and WHERE: Pacific Fishery Management Council, Sunday, March 10, at Council meeting this week at Hotel Murano in Tacoma. Agenda Item I.2: Swordfish Management Report on Potential Changes to the Turtle Conservation Area and Take Limits
WHY: National Marine Fisheries Service is proposing to allow swordfish fishing in the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area (PLCA) along the California and Oregon coasts that is off limits to drift gillnetters between August 15 to November 15 every year. The action would increase the risk of entanglements of endangered sea turtles, whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea birds and tons of unwanted fish including endangered sharks. Read more about fishery here.
⎯ Last week new science was published that predicts extinction of the Western Pacific leatherback sea turtle in 20 years if new conservation measures are not immediately implemented. See this link for more info on the science.
⎯ SInce the PLCA was established, one leatherback sea turtle was observed entangled and released alive compared to more than 100 killed in the previous decade when the area was open to drift gillnets.
⎯ Swordfish landings in the PLCA total less than 2 percent of historic landings and would generate a maximum of $500,000 per year in revenues, according to fishery data recently posted.
Take Action to Halt the Curtain of Death here.