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For Immediate Release
Images available here

CONTACT:
Joanna Nasar McWilliams
Communications Director
Turtle Island Restoration Network
Cell: (415) 488-7711
Joanna@SeaTurtles.Org

Turtle Island Uses Capitol as Screen to Call on Senate Leadership to Phase Out Driftnets & Support Senate Bill 1114

“Virtual” Banner Hanging says: “Save Whales & Dolphins. #EndCAdriftnets.
Enact Senate Bill 1114!”

Sacramento (May 25, 2016) – Late last night Turtle Island Restoration Network (seaturtles.org), a leading ocean and marine conservation non-profit, and the SF Projection Department (https://www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoProjectionDepartment/) lit up the State Capitol of California with images of dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and sea lions. The California driftnet fishery needlessly kills these animals. This guerilla direct action was designed to further convince Senate Leadership to support Senate Bill (SB) 1114 to phase out this destructive and outdated fishery.

“We’re putting the spotlight on the secret driftnet fishery that operates off our California coast, and slaughters our marine wildlife. I am challenging our Senate Leadership to step up and support our bill to save whales and dolphins,” said Todd Steiner, executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network and SPAWN.

Turtle Island and SF Projection Department hung a ‘virtual banner’ that said “Save Whales & Dolphins. #EndCAdriftnets. Enact Senate Bill 1114!” to start the show. The image flashed across the California State Capitol, located in the heart of downtown Sacramento. The buildings turn-of-the-century columns and dome provided a stunning backdrop for the action. Next, the activists displayed images of some of the marine wildlife caught as ‘bycatch’ like dolphins, sea lions, whales, and leatherback sea turtles.

The projection encourages Senate Leadership to follow the recommendations of over 250 scientists, over 30 organizations, and over 25,000 voters and phase out the use of outdated driftnet fishing gear in California waters by supporting SB 1114. The bill, introduced by Senator Allen (D – Santa Monica) and sponsored by Turtle Island, proposes a commonsense phase-out plan to ban driftnets in California waters, and stop the slaughter of marine wildlife. The bill would transition driftnets to a new, more environmentally responsible fishing method called deep-set buoy gear.

Earlier this week, advocates ran a full-page ad in the Orange County Register calling on Senate leaders to support SB 1114 and help a protest in Southern California.

The large-scale projection was programmed to coincide with the Senate Committee on Appropriations upcoming meetings and talks around the SB 1114 and driftnets this week. The bill passed through the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, and a vote is expected in the Senate Appropriations Committee this week on May 26th. If passed through the committee, the bill will then move to the Senate floor for consideration. Videos and images of the projection for media use are available here.

Background on the California Driftnet Fishery for Swordfish & Thresher Shark The California driftnet fishery sets mile-long invisible nets off the California coast to catch swordfish and thresher shark, but entangles anything that swims into them. It has been described as the most destructive fishery on the West Coast, incidentally killing more whales and dolphins than all other observed West Coast commercial fisheries combined, according to government figures.

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Turtle Island Restoration Network works to mobilize people and communities around the world to protect marine wildlife, the oceans and the inland waterways that sustain them. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. SeaTurtles.Org