For Immediate Release

Joanna McWilliams
Communications Director
Turtle Island Restoration Network
Cell: (415) 488-7711

Turtle Island’s Public Service Announcement Highlight the Impact of California’s Driftnet Fishery for Swordfish on Marine Wildlife

Olema, Calif. (August 15, 2016) – The ocean and marine conservation organization, Turtle Island Restoration Network released a series of Public Service Announcement videos (watch here) to call consumers attention to the impact of ordering a California driftnet caught swordfish.

“Transparency is key to allowing consumers to make informed decision about their health and our oceans health. Our PSA lifts the curtain of secrecy around this fishery and shows diners the power they have to make smart seafood choices by saying ‘no’ to California driftnet-caught swordfish,” said Joanna McWilliams, communications director at Turtle Island Restoration Network (SeaTurtles.Org). “People are smart. As soon as they learn that marine wildlife are impacted, they no longer want to order this dish,” she added.

The videos feature Hollywood Actor Josh Nasar (who has appeared on “Sons of Anarchy” and is currently  hosting Discovery Networks “What’s My Car Worth”), Anne McDaniels (former NFL Cheerleader for the Minnesota Vikings, TV host, and model) and Matthew Wilburn King (actor and advocate who appeared in our first PSA). Host Josh Nasar speaks with people at the Santa Monica Pier about swordfish and the California driftnet fishery. Viewers quickly learn that ordering driftnet-caught-swordfish is a poor decision for marine wildlife, which are caught up in the nets alongside swordfish, and for their health, as swordfish is high in toxic mercury.

“Driftnets targeting swordfish kills hundreds of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles, and this PSA drives home this serious and alarming message in a ‘palatable’ light-hearted way,” said Todd Steiner, executive director of Turtle Island Restoration Network, who added that the pun was intended.

As Turtle Island’s series of reports show, the California driftnet fishery is a serious threat to marine mammals, sea turtles and sharks; targets toxic high-in-mercury fish; is a net drag on California’s economy; and hampers efforts to clean up international fishing practices. The new series of light-hearted online videos educate consumers and diners about how choices they make impact their own health and California’s oceans and marine wildlife. The PSA was generously funded by the Temper of the Times Foundation.

Background on the California Driftnet Fishery
Today, 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. The fishery has killed an estimated 16 endangered sperm whales in the last decade. Recent stock assessments suggest that this take is more than the population can sustain from all sources combined, much less from a single fishery. In total, an estimated 885 marine mammals have been killed in the past decade alone. Driftnets are banned by the United Nations, on the high seas, by a host of countries, and throughout the United States. Turtle Island’s new report shows that it is time for California to phase out this outdated and ineffective method.

Watch the PSAs here.

View our reports on the driftnet fishery here.


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