The Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act (S. 2773) was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate to address ongoing harm to marine wildlife caused by large mesh drift gillnets in the West Coast swordfish fishery. A companion bill, H.R. 5638, was recently introduced in the House of Representatives. If enacted, this legislation would end the use of large-mesh drift gillnets and provide funding for fishermen to make the transition to less harmful fishing gear.
Act Now: Support the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act
The United States has been a leader in the regulation of large-scale drift gillnets both at home and abroad, but the activity continues on the West Coast. The fishery itself is small—around 20 active boats—but it kills more dolphins and porpoises than all other West Coast fisheries combined. Harming iconic and endangered species such as leatherback sea turtles and sperm whales is unacceptable, particularly when less wasteful and more environmentally friendly alternatives exist, such as deep-set buoy gear.
This legislation provides fishermen with solutions, as well as certainty about the sustainable future of this fishery—a benefit for consumers, fishing communities, and the marine ecosystem.
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