Report | March, 2014
Exposing California’s Dirty Little Secret
Mile-long drift gillnets create a deadly trap for ocean wildlife. These nets, meant for swordfish and thresher sharks, form dangerous underwater walls that entangle iconic ocean marine life, preventing them from surfacing for air, so many eventually drown or become critically injured. After soaking in the ocean overnight, the nets are pulled from the water containing disturbing and unacceptably high numbers of dead and dying animals—including whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, numerous shark species and many other ecologically and economically important fish. With cleaner gear types available and historic lows in fishery participation, it is time to revitalize the swordfish fishery by eliminating drift gillnets and replacing them with cleaner gear.