An Occasional Ramble By The Sea
March 18, 2004
By David Helvarg
It’s been a mixed week for the oceans. The good news is the US put a halt to longline swordfishing in Pacific waters off California. Longlines trail thousands of hooks from up to 50 miles of line per boat. This has made for an indiscriminate fishery, hooking and killing significant numbers of endangered leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles. Under pressure from the 9th Circuit Court the National Marine Fisheries Service has banned the longliners starting April 12. The fishermen complain US boats only take about 5% of the turtles killed in the Pacific, but maybe if we start with our own fleet, we can set an example (on the largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world) and also become more engaged in protecting sea life on the global commons.
Two dozen San Pedro based boats are effected by the ban, which is why it took so much pressure to get the Department of Commerce’s fisheries service to act. 24 commercial businesses versus 600 million years of sea turtle existence? Apparently a tough call for the nation’s leading ocean agency.
For More information contact: Todd Steiner Turtle Island Restoration Network http://www.Seaturtles.org.
Zeke Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations http://www.pcffa.org/