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Bill to Protect Marine Wildlife from California Driftnets Passes Senate Appropriations Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 25, 2018       

San Francisco Bay Area (May 25, 2018) – Today, SB 1017, a bill that would transition California away from the use of large-scale driftnets successfully cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill will potentially be up for a full Senate floor vote next week.

SB 1017, authored by Senator Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, would:

  • Implement a driftnet permit buyback program;
  • End the use of driftnets after the 2023 fishing season (new entrants into the swordfish fishery will be directed toward the use of lower impact fishing gears for a modernized fishery).

This is the first time a bill of this type has passed out of the Appropriations Committee.

“This is a monumental step in the right direction,” said Cassie Burdyshaw, Advocacy and Policy Director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Ocean wildlife are continually harmed or killed by the driftnet fishery. It’s time to end the slaughter off the coast of California.

“We’ve been fighting to transition California away from driftnets for over two decades,” said Burdyshaw. “We’re thrilled to see that California legislators are voting in favor of our ocean.”

According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, only one in eight of the animals caught in California’s driftnets is a swordfish. The nets kill more than 70 different species of ocean wildlife. Large-mesh drift gillnets have been banned by the United Nations on the high seas, by a host of countries, and throughout much of the United States.

California is the last state in the U.S. to allow drift gillnet fishing for swordfish and thresher shark off its coast.

Federal bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate to phase out the use of large mesh driftnets off the coast of California.

CONTACT:

Cassie Burdyshaw
Turtle Island Restoration Network
cburdyshaw@seaturtles.org
(513) 292-3101

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