Fishery Managers to Vote on Swordfish Vs. Whales and Sea Turtles

By March 7, 2014Sea Turtles

For Immediate Release: March 7th, 2014
Contact: Teri Shore, cell 707 934 7081
Turtle Island Restoration Network,
Photos of marine life entangled in CA driftnets available here

Fishery Managers to Vote on Swordfish Vs. Whales and Sea Turtles

Ocean Advocates Oppose Federal Plan to Expand Driftnets into Sea Turtle and Whale Habitat along CA Coast

Vote Expected Wednesday, March 12, at Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Sacramento March 7 to 14

WHAT: The Pacific Fishery Management Council will vote next week in Sacramento, CA, on whether to allow California’s high bycatch driftnet fleet for swordfish to expand into protected sea turtle habitat in the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary that is inside the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area. The area proposed for opening is off limits to driftnets three months of the year to protect endangered sea turtles and marine life.

Ocean conservation groups oppose more driftnet fishing because it would increase the risk of capturing and drowning endangered sea turtles and sperm whales as well as entanglement in lost gear.

The proposed driftnet expansion also conflicts directly with new state legislation AB 2019 (Fong) that seeks to end the use of driftnets in CA. Read more at

WHEN and WHERE: Pacific Fishery Management Council, Wednesday, March 12, during meeting this week at DoubleTree by Hilton Sacramento, 2001 Point West Way, Sacramento, CA 95815. Agenda on CA driftnet items here.

WHY: Federal fishery managers are proposing to allow driftnet boats to fish for swordfish and shark inside the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary’s Davidson Seamount area. The waters in question are part of the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area (PLCA). The PLCA is off limits to driftnet fishers between August 15 to November 15 along the California and Oregon coasts.

The waters proposed for more driftnet fishing are known to be historically high in bycatch of endangered sperm whales and sea turtles compared to other areas where the driftnet fleet operates, mainly in the Southern California Bight.

Currently, an average of 100 marine mammals are killed in the driftnet fishery every year. Last year emergency regulations were imposed to prevent capture and killing of endangered sperm whales. These have expired and no new protections are in place yet.