Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in politics?

I am a California native and am honored and grateful to represent Marin and Sonoma Counties, the most beautiful coastal area in California. My interest in politics stems initially from my involvement in student government in college. As a parent and resident of Marin County, I care greatly about our North Bay communities. I view public service as a tremendous opportunity to develop public policies that protect our natural resources.

Why do you personally care about the ocean and marine wildlife?

I have always believed we need to be good stewards of our environment for future generations. Our ocean and its marine wildlife is an integral component of that. The health of our ocean affects our air, food, and coastal communities. California’s health is directly tied to the health of the ocean.

How did you first learn about the California drift gillnets?

As the Assemblymember representing Marin and Sonoma Counties, with our beautiful coastlines, ocean health has always been an important topic of discussion. I first heard about California drift gillnets from advocacy groups expressing concern and decided to learn more about the issue.

I quickly realized that we need to see a policy change to encourage the eventual phase out of gillnets and I worked with my colleagues on AB 2019 in 2014, that would help accomplish this goal.

Why do you think we need to phase out our driftnets?

Driftnets are simply destructive gear, and transitioning away from them will help promote more sustainable fishing practices.

These large-mesh nets entangle endangered and protected animals that are an important part of the ocean ecosystem. We need to protect the whales, dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles that become critically injured or drown because of these nets.

One California gillnet swordfish fishery kills more dolphins and whales than all other West Coast and Alaskan fisheries combined and throws away more fish than it keeps.

This is simply unacceptable and must stop.

How can our e-readers help make this a reality? Can they call their representatives…etc.

You can promote and support sustainable seafood, by demanding reduction in bycatch. Your advocacy is critical. Get involved. You can make a difference.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I thank Turtle Island Restoration Network for all the work they are doing to protect the world’s oceans and marine wildlife, and also being engaged on the important issue of driftnets in California.