Due to the capture and drowning of an estimated 16 endangered sperm whales in 2010, federal fishery managers have determined that the CA gillnet fishery now ranks at the highest level for marine mammal bycatch along the U.S. West Coast under the Marine Mammal Protection Act as a Category 1 fishery.
Today, we submitted extensive comments to National Marine Fisheries Service, along with the many thousands of letters and emails that you sent, to support the ranking of the fishery as Number 1 for harm to sperm whales. Download the letter below in a PDF.
We all know that the damage goes far beyond those poor sperm whales. More than a dozen species of marine mammals are captured and drowned in the fishery every season, including minke whales, humpback whales, dolphins, sea turtles, seabirds and fish.
- More than 1,000 whales, common dolphins, and other marine mammals accidentally captured and drowned over the past decade.
- More than 100,000 giant ocean sunfish and 10,000 blue sharks caught and discarded over the past 10 years.
As much as 80 percent of the sea life caught by the drift gillnets is
neither swordfish nor shark but other finfish and marine species.
-Ultimately, 35 percent of the total finfish catch is kept for sale as seafood and 65 percent discarded.
The drift gillnet fishing season opened May 1. Please don't eat the swordfish or shark from this fishery until we make sure that the drift gillnet gear is put away forever.