Climate Change Report

Deadly Waters: The Threat of Climate Change & Rising Sea Levels to Sea Turtle Nesting Beaches

In this report, we examine the impacts of sea level rise on major sea turtle nesting beaches for the seven species of sea turtles. From existing data and sea level rise projections, we have identified two major US nesting beach areas that are at risk from climate change: French Frigate Shoals in Hawaii and Padre Island National Seashore in Texas.

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Boiling Point: The Impact of Climate Change on Sea Turtles and the Urgent Need to Take Action

In this report, the impacts of climate change on current and future sea turtle populations are examined. The impact is magnified by continued threats from industrial fishing, coastal development, and direct harvest. There are two main ways to reduce the impacts of climate change: to reduce climate change emissions and to strengthen the ability of endangered sea turtles and their ecosystems to survive climate change.

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Set Gillnet Reports

The Net Consequence: Impacts of Set Gillnets on California Ocean Biodiversity

Despite nearshore bans on the use of set gillnet fishing gear, set gillnets designed for catching California halibut and white seabass are still used offshore and around islands in Southern California ocean waters causing immense damage to wildlife and threatening marine biodiversity. The issues of this method are examined, as well as management solutions.

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California Driftnet Fishery Reports

California Driftnet Fishery Overview

Read our Overview report to learn the true cost of the California driftnet fishery for swordfish, and understand the basics.

The driftnet fishery in California consists of roughly 20 fishing vessels. The vessels set out nets the size of the Golden Gate Bridge to float overnight and indiscriminately catch whatever swims into their nets. The California driftnet fishery kills or injures approximately seven times more whales and dolphins than all other observed fisheries in California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska combined, and 13 times more than any other single observed fishery on the West Coast.

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Sea Turtle Impacts

Read our ‘Sea Turtle Impacts’ report to get an in-depth look at how miles-long driftnets impact endangered leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles.

Endangered sea turtles are air-breathing animals, and when they become entangled in the nearly invisible monofilament line of mile-wide driftnets, they drown when they are unable to surface to breathe. Even if sea turtles escape entanglement, they can die after being forcibly submerged. Between 1990 and 2000, the California driftnet fishery killed an estimated 137 sea turtles.

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The Economic Argument Against the California Driftnet Fishery

The California driftnet fishery has an overall negative impact on our economy because it costs more to manage the fishery than the wealth that is created from the fishery.

Taxpayers pay for observers and regulators for fisheries to protect public marine resources. Because driftnets are inherently destructive, tight regulation is necessary to ensure that the fleet complies with U.S. and California law and that the fishery does not devastate the public marine resources of the California coast. The cost of regulation would substantially decrease if the California swordfish fishery used more sustainable fishing gear instead of driftnets.

The catch from the California driftnet fishery peaked in the 1980s and has been steadily declining.1 According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California driftnet fishery landed 135,000 pounds of swordfish in 2013, valued at $585,000.

Read our Economic report to get an in-depth look at how California driftnets negatively impact taxpayers and our economy.

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Deadly Impact of the California Driftnet Fishery on Marine Mammals

Driftnets are deadly to whales, dolphins and porpoises because this fishing gear entangles and drowns these air-breathing mammals. Since most whales and dolphins, like humans, only produce a few offspring over their entire lives, most species are extremely vulnerable if they cannot maintain sustainable population sizes. For marine mammals, maintaining sustainable population sizes becomes difficult when faced with high levels of mortality from industrial fishing.

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Deadly Impact of the California Driftnet Fishery on Sharks

Globally, shark species are facing steep declines in many populations. Indiscriminate industrial fishing has reduced the biomass of large predators such as tunas and sharks by up to 90 percent since the 1950s.Fully 15 percent of the catch in the driftnet fishery are sharks, many of them listed and protected under international treaties and agreements.

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Fish Rescue Reports