Say NO to Developing a Longline Fishery on the United States West Coast
We’ve seen some major wins for pelagic fisheries operating out of the West Coast of the United States over the last year. First, was a California State bill that was signed last year that will ban the use of drift gillnets in California waters by 2023. More recently, in September, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) unanimously voted to authorize deep-set buoy gear as an ecologically and economically superior way to commercially harvest swordfish.
Unfortunately, however, during the upcoming November meeting, the PFMC will be discussing the concept of allowing a pelagic longline fishery to operate off California, Oregon and Washington. Like drift gillnets, pelagic longlines incur a very high amount of bycatch and mortality for a variety of game fish species including billfish. Since the passage of the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012, no billfish can be entered into commercial trade in the continental United States, so there is no legal market for any billfish caught on longline boats operating out of the West Coast. As such, developing a new longline fishery will just result in the needless killing of billfish and scores of other unintended bycatch species.
We need your help in telling the Pacific Fishery Management Council not to allow a pelagic longline fishery to operate out of West Coast ports.
Here’s how you can help:
- Attend the November 19th PFMC meeting in Costa Mesa, California and join fellow recreational anglers in voicing opposition to the development of a pelagic longline fishery.
- Can’t make it to the meeting? No problem! You can voice your opposition simply by going here. For your convenience, we have provided some sample language below. Comments must be received by November 18th.
Phil Anderson, Chair
Pacific Fishery Management Council
Dear Mr. Anderson,
I’m writing to voice my opposition to allowing a pelagic longline fishery to operate out of West Coast ports. Pelagic longlines are an unsustainable gear that have a terrible track record of wasteful bycatch. The PFMC has demonstrated great leadership with the recent authorization of deep-set buoy gear as an alternate means for commercial fishermen to more sustainably harvest swordfish. We need to keep looking ahead to developing more sustainable means to harvest pelagic species, not behind at indiscriminate gear like pelagic longlines. As such I strongly urge the PFMC not to allow the development of a pelagic longline fishery to operate out of West Coast Ports.