California Drift Gillnet Fishery Killed Two Sperm Whales

The drift gillnet gear that killed a gray whale and entangled another over the past week along the California coast is the same type of gear used by the California drift gillnet fishery targeting swordfish and shark that captured and killed at least two sperm whales in 2010.

The two gray whales were entangled by loose drift gillnet gear as they migrated north, trailing the “marine ecosystem” behind them according to rescue teams. The two sperm whale killings were directly observed captures in the drift gillnet fishery from an fishing vessel. As many as 16 sperm whales were entangled in 2010, the most recent data available.

Yet right now fishery managers are planning to expand this fishery, which also captures and kills sea turtles, seals, sea lions, dolphins, sharks, bluefin tuna and sunfish.

Few people even realize that a drift gillnet fishery operates along our coast.

On Saturday, March 3, the federal Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to pursue expanding California’s devastating drift gillnet fishery for swordfish and shark into an area now protected for critically endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles. Take Action: Say No to More Deadly Drift Gill Nets.