An undercover investigation led by a coalition of animal rights groups including Mercy for Animals, Turtle Island Restoration Network, SeaLegacy, and Sharkwater, shows systemic cruelty in California’s fishing industry.
The organizations are urging Senators to enact protective legislation aimed at reducing the use of driftnets and the animals harmed and killed as a result. The coalition is also urging California’s legislature to pass Senate Bill 1017, which would move the state away from the use of large-scale driftnets.
“For every one swordfish caught by the driftnet fishery, an estimated seven other marine animals are entangled and killed,” the groups note.
Driftnet fishing is already banned by the United Nations and several countries. The practice is no longer in use on the East Coast, Oregon, or Washington.
“Driftnets are deathnets,” says Cassie Burdyshaw, advocacy and policy director at Turtle Island Restoration Network. “Less harmful fishing methods have existed for years. We don’t have to kill endangered sea turtles and whales just to put swordfish on our plates.”
“These nets are a mile long and hang 100 feet deep, and they’re designed to kill everything in their path,” says Paul Nicklen, co-founder and expedition lead for SeaLegacy. “If a dolphin, whale, turtle, swordfish, thresher shark, or mako shark swims into that net, they’re going to die. It’s out of sight, out of mind. Ocean wildlife and endangered species are continually harmed or killed by this dangerous fishery and it’s time to end the slaughter.”
The campaign is urging citizens to contact their Senators and ask for their support in banning driftnets.
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