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The Economic Argument Against the California Driftnet Fishery

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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.

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