Help us Remove Gillnets off the California Coast
I have some good news to report in our efforts to encourage West Coast fisheries managers to transition away from drift gillnets, and want to urge all of you to get involved over the next 30 days, prior to a crucial PFMC meeting in November.
At September’s PFMC meeting in Sacramento, the Council set a goal of establishing 100% observer coverage on the drift gillnet fishery by 2018. They also put firm limits on the catch of nine species of marine mammals and turtles caught accidentally in drift gillnets, agreeing to shut down the fishery for the season if any one of these limits are reached. These are huge steps forward after a year of backsliding. The Council also decided to schedule a long discussion about the future of the swordfish fishery for the November PFMC meeting in Garden Grove. At that meeting, they will discuss plans for this fishery and potential alternative gear types…as well as a discussion about longlines.
Momentum appears to be shifting back to our side, and that couldn’t have happened without input from the recreational angling community.
Anglers were well represented at this meeting – IGFA member Bev Seltzer delivered incredibly compelling testimony, and IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser and CCA-CA Wayne Kotow were there in person to submit eloquent letters urging the PFMC to transition away from drift gillnets and keep longlines away from the California coast. I believe that Councilmembers were very moved by the input from anglers, who continue to be underrepresented in the management process.
However, there’s still work to be done! We need to rally additional support in advance of the PFMC meeting on November 15th, in Garden Grove, CA. Let’s urge the PFMC to transition away from drift gillnets once and for all and reject the introduction of longlines off our coast.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED:
- Sign the angler petition, and share it with at least five fellow anglers. If you are a member of a fishing club or organization, are active in an online fishing forum, or have an email list of anglers, PLEASE SHARE THE PETITION AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO SIGN! We currently have just 1200 signers, but really need at least 2500 anglers to make a strong statement when we resubmit the petition in November.
- Attend the PFMC meeting in Garden Grove. We need anglers to show up in force for that meeting. November 15th is a Sunday so it should minimize work conflicts.