Turtle caught in a net

Turtle caught in a net
The driftnet measures one kilometer long and floats along the sea surface and catches sea turtles, marine mammals and many fish species.
Please NOAA

This U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed S.906, the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, which bans devastating driftnets from the last region in the country that still allows it – the federal ocean off California. The bill now goes to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

The Coastal Conservation Association of California helped lead the final push for the passage of S.906, which was introduced more than two years into the upper house by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Now elected Vice President. It was approved by the Senate in July 2020.

“This is something that CCA California has been focused on for years, and it’s a huge gain for anglers and our marine resources,” said Bill Shedd, president of CCA Cal. “CCA members from across the nation activated and sent thousands of messages to their elected representatives urging them to adopt this common sense, and their perseverance paid off. We are truly grateful for their efforts and proud to have been a part of it. national efforts to get this bill over the finish line. It’s big grassroots efforts like this that have made the CCA successful for decades. “

Interestingly, California was the only state that still allowed a small number of commercial fishermen to use large-mesh driftnets, which are one kilometer long and float along the sea surface, and arbitrarily caught all creatures on their way. Although intended to catch swordfish, the nets have been known to catch more than 70 different species, including marine mammals and sea turtles, as well as fish. Over half of the catch is discarded, much of it dead.

Read next: Bill to ban California driftnets hits Senate floor

To help commercial fishermen replace lost income, the state of California has actively developed an alternative method of catching swordfish with deep-lying buoyancy gear that results in far less bycatch.

This is a great way to end a very worrying year, ”said Wayne Kotow, CEO of CCA Cal. “We could not have achieved this without all of our valuable coalition partners. We can finally see the end of this type of gear that is harming the overall resources.”

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