Shocking new video footage reveals how marine animals—including protected species, such as dolphins, sea lions, and seabirds—are routinely trapped and killed in the commercial fishing industry's “driftnets.” Animals are documented being cut apart, pierced with hooks, caught in nets, and left to slowly suffocate aboard driftnet fishing boats off the coast of California.
Threat to Species
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The driftnet fishery is responsible for widespread destruction of marine wildlife.
For every swordfish caught by the driftnet fishery, an estimated seven other marine animals are entangled in nets and often injured or killed. And at least six endangered, threatened, or protected species are harmed by driftnets off the California coast.
Update! U.S. Senate bill S. 2773 has been introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris of California to phase out cruel driftnets across the country. If you live outside California, please Take Action Now to tell your senators to support this bill!
If you live in California, your U.S. senators already support the federal bill, but we still need your help to call on the California legislature to pass SB 1017, a bill to phase out the use of large-scale driftnets off California’s coast. Please help ensure this bill becomes law. Take Action Now.
WHAT ARE DRIFTNETS?
Driftnets are walls of netting that float in the ocean. They are extremely harmful, as notoriously high numbers of sea animals, including protected species, such as dolphins, sea lions, and seabirds, are caught, killed, and thrown away by the driftnet fishery. These animals are referred to as "bycatch."
This loss of life is a massive threat to marine ecosystems.
Driftnets are already banned in many countries, and only one driftnet fishery for swordfish remains in the United States—in federal waters off the coast of California.
MARINE ANIMALS HARMED BY DRIFTNETS
Scientific research indicates that fish experience emotions and physical pain. Fish are also far more intelligent than we usually give them credit for; they learn by observing one another and cooperate toward common goals.
Dolphins are considered one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. They can recognize themselves in mirrors, solve problems, follow recipes, and create personalized whistles that act as names for individual members of a family group.
Sharks have been on Earth longer than dinosaurs and have survived several mass extinctions. Sharks display both intelligence and curiosity; they have been observed gently investigating unfamiliar objects in their environment and can even recognize certain boats and divers.
All species of sea lions are mammals. Females give birth and nurse the pups. Sea lions are very communicative and display a wide array of sounds, such as roaring, barking, and even trumpet-like honking.
Seabirds depend on the sea for survival. They are highly social and live in colonies of a few dozen birds to thousands. Seagulls mate for life, and couples gather each year during mating season to reproduce and raise their offspring.
The End Driftnets Coalition is a national alliance that comprises Mercy For Animals, Turtle Island Restoration Network, SeaLegacy, Sharkwater, and compassionate individuals working toward a society free of the driftnet industry and its devastating impacts on marine animals and the ocean ecosystem.
Special thanks to Larry Brown, Sharkwater, and On Wings Of Care