For Immediate Release
Turtle Island Restoration Network
Cell: (415) 488-7711
Senate Bill 1114 to Phase out the California Driftnet Fishery and Protect Marine Wildlife Moves Through Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water
Sacramento (April 12, 2016) – Today the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water voted 6-0 to support Senate Bill (SB) 1114 to phase out the use of mile-long driftnets in California waters. The innovative bill sponsored by Turtle Island Restoration Network and authored by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) lays out a commonsense transition plan to phase out the use of these mile-long nets to a new, more environmentally responsible fishing method using deep-set buoy gear.
“This is an important first step toward transitioning to a more environmentally responsible swordfish fishery,” Senator Ben Allen said.
Currently, the California driftnet fishery consists of less than 20 boats, and is among the worst 20 percent of all fisheries globally. The fishery kills more whales and dolphins as bycatch (unintended catch) than all other fisheries on the West Coast combined. Additionally, it costs more to operate than the value of target species of fish caught.
The legislation would authorize the use of this more sustainable deep-set buoy gear technology while at the same time phasing out the use of driftnets by existing permit holders, and prohibiting the issuance of any new permits for use of driftnets. Current driftnet fisherman with permits would be given incentives to become earlier adopters of the new fishing gear.
“We are pleased to see Senate Bill 1114 moving forward and applaud the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water for recognizing that the cost of continuing to operate the driftnet fishery at status quo is simply too high,” said Cassie Burdyshaw, Policy Director at Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Our sponsored bill makes sense for marine wildlife and tax payers, and transforms this deadly fishery into a sustainable one,” she added.
SB 1114 will now move to the Senate appropriations committee and then ultimately to the senate floor for consideration.
More information about the proposed legislation can be found here: http://sd26.senate.ca.gov/sites/sd26.senate.ca.gov/files/SB1114.pdf
Read our report on the California driftnet here: https://seaturtles.org/resources/driftnet-overview/?parent=sharks
Read our report on the California driftnet fisheries impacts on sea turtles here: https://seaturtles.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/sea-turtle-report-v5-web.pdf
Turtle Island Restoration Network works to mobilize people and communities around the world to protect marine wildlife, the oceans and the inland waterways that sustain them. Join us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. SeaTurtles.Org