Wednesday April 19, 2023

Global News Wire

Today, Oceana and Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) released a report finding that the set gillnet fishery targeting California halibut and white seabass off Southern California is threatening the heath and diversity of the ocean ecosystem. This fishery throws overboard 64 percent of the animals caught, which is among the highest “bycatch” rates of any fishery in the country. These nearly invisible nets can be as long as the Golden Gate Bridge, and they indiscriminately catch more than 125 different species of ocean animals, including marine mammals, seabirds, sharks, rays, skates, and other fish that migrate, feed, and reproduce in the dynamic ocean waters off Southern California. More than half of the animals thrown overboard are already dead or dying when they hit the water — raising significant concerns over the fishery’s impact on California’s marine biodiversity. 

“The set gillnet fishery targeting California halibut and white seabass is clearly a risk to the health and resilience of California’s oceans,” said Caitlynn Birch, Pacific marine scientist with Oceana. “These nets injure and kill a myriad of ocean animals, including rare and vulnerable species. Despite a history of wildlife impacts and action by California voters, the fishery remains largely unmonitored as these nets continue to hurt wildlife off Southern California.”

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