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California Coastal Commission Votes Unanimous No to Longline Fishing

Endangered Sea Turtles and Whales Receive Vital Protection

Forest Knolls, CA – On Friday, August 10, the California Coastal Commission voted a unanimous no at a highly charged meeting in San Francisco to a proposal by the federal government to allow swordfish longline fishing along the California coast.

The Coastal Commission determined the proposed permit was inconsistent with the California Coastal Act, and would place endangered sea turtles and whales at risk. The proposed permit would have allowed longline fishing, known for its capture of sea turtles, into a critical habitat area for the highly endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle.

Longline fishing for swordfish has been banned by the State of California for at least 30 years, due to its high capture and killing of non-targeted species. It is a highly indiscriminate style of fishing in which up to 60 miles of line is deployed at the back of a vessel from which thousands of hooks are set.

“ The Coastal Commission made the right decision to vote no on this permit,” states Karen Steele from the Sea Turtle Restoration Project. “ Longline fishing is a highly non-selective fishing method where for every 10 hooks set, 5-7 of these hooks capture non-targeted species. Developing such a fishing in California would have devastating impacts on California’s coastal resources including endangered sea turtles and whales.”

Photo/P. Lindgren