Demand Cleaner Fishing Practices


Target:Donald McIsaac, Executive Director of the Pacific Fishery Management Council

Goal: Encourage fishery managers to prohibit the use of drift gillnets off the California coast

In California, the use of drift gillnets is permitted to catch swordfish. However, gillnets are notorious for high levels of bycatch, or species that are caught along with the swordfish that are not desired by fishermen. The creatures caught in bycatch often die in the process or are injured. Because of this, drift gillnets are often banned in international waters as they do not support sustainable fishing. While they are prohibited in Washington and Oregon, California is the only state along the West Coast that allows this practice.

Gillnets span over large areas and are hard for creatures to see underwater, which is why the risk for bycatch is so high. California gillnet swordfish fisheries injure and kill numerous whales and dolphins every year. In fact, these fisheries are estimated to throw away more fish than they keep. Many acknowledge the horrible nature of this method of fishing, including California assembly members and senators. Recently, they sent a letter asking the Pacific Fishery Management Council to take action against this cruel method of fishing.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has previously stated that it plans to transition to more sustainable fishing methods. However, it has yet to come up with a plan to permanently prohibit drift gillnets. With the government standing behind this issue, the Pacific Fishery Management Council now needs to make change. By signing this petition below, you will be insisting that the Council implement a transition plan to come up with more sustainable methods of fishing and put a ban on the cruel use of drift gillnets.


Dear Director McIsaac,

The use of cruel drift gillnets should be replaced with a more sustainable method of fishing. Swordfish fisheries that use drift gillnets are known for their high levels of bycatch. They are also recorded to kill numerous fish, dolphins, and whales.

A method of fishing that leads fishermen to throw out more fish than they keep is wasteful and cruel. California is the only remaining state on the West Coast that allows gillnets. I urge you to take action to prohibit the use of drift gillnets in California. By doing so, you would be protecting our beautiful West Coast ecosystem and ending the unnecessary killing of many different species.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council recently proposed to change its fishing methods. However, I encourage you to provide a definite plan for accomplishing this. This matter is time sensitive and with every passing day more species are being harmed. Please take action now and protect our oceans.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Geronimo20 via Wikimedia Commons

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One Comment

  1. Other states and countries have banned this idiotic and cruel method of fishing. Why hasn’t California done anything? There are other ways to catch swordfish that will not injure and kill so many dolphins and whales. There must be someone who actually CARES about our marine life. Every day delayed is one more too many. Drift gillnets MUST BE BANNED, NOW!

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