Among states that most of us associate with being “green” and environmentally aware, California would come to mind as at or near the top of the list.
So how then to explain that this icon of progressive thinking, on our Pacific Coast, would be the only place in the United States and Hawaii — and indeed, most of the world — that still allows one of the most destructive forms of high‑seas fishing?
How is it that in a state busy worrying about things such as taking split shot out of the tackle boxes of anglers, drift gill-netters continue to legally put out what have been widely termed their “walls of death”?
Mile-long drift gill nets ensnare not only the intended swordfish, but pretty much any large marine animals that swim into them as well. And many do: The fishery throws away more than 50 percent of what it catches.
Some of those “discards” — a bureaucratic euphemism for dead sharks, billfish, dolphins and porpoises, sea turtles, and more — appeared in recent months in videos that shocked many, showing an unfortunate dead mola (ocean sunfish) as victim of a drift net, along with other dead animals, including dolphins and sharks.