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Assemblyman Richard Bloom Joins Lawmakers To Phase Out California Drift Gillnets

With the full support of Turtle Island Restoration Network, OCEANA, and other marine conservations organizations, California Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay), Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria), Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), and Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) this week called on the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service to transition away from deadly California drift gillnets.

“Lawmakers continue to be concerned about the use of gillnets. We need a swordfish fishery transition plan that results in the eventual end to the use of gillnets,” said Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and chair of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. “One California gillnet swordfish fishery kills more dolphins and whales than all other West Coast and Alaskan fisheries combined and throws away more fish than it keeps. This is unacceptable and must stop. We call on state and federal regulators to act quickly.”

Lawmakers called on the Council and Fisheries Service to provide a written swordfish fishery transition plan with a timeline for the eventual prohibition of drift gillnet gear, and immediate implementation of hard caps and a goal of 100 percent catch and bycatch monitoring.

Other fisheries like that of the bluefin tuna fishery will be at 100 percent monitoring in 2015 and will be using video cameras to document bycatch, so there is a precedent for using available technology to hold fisheries accountable.

“California drift gillnets are deadly curtains of death for marine wildlife like whales and sea turtles,” said Doug Karpa, legal program director at Turtle Island Restoration Network. “We applaud the lawmakers like Bloom, who are speaking out to ensure our oceans are not indiscriminately mined.”