This week, in a win for the sportfishing community, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council voted to not proceed with consideration of an amendment that would authorize shallow-set longline gear in West Coast highly migratory species.
“As leaders in conservation, we support sustainable fishing practices in all sectors. Industrial pelagic longlining has an abhorrent record of wasteful bycatch and unsustainability,” said Danielle Cloutier, Pacific Fisheries Policy director for the American Sportfishing Association. “This practice contravenes our collective goals of reducing bycatch and ensuring quality fishing opportunities for future generations. We’re thankful that the council came down on the right side of this issue, which is in the best interest of our community.”
In a significant win for the sportfishing community, the American Sportfishing Association, Wild Oceans, the Coastal Conservation Association of California and the International Game Fish Association came together to successfully advocate for sportfishing interests. Shallow-set longline gear creates an excessive amount of bycatch that can negatively impact the health of recreationally important fish populations.
Public comment on this issue was significant, with nearly 50 separate comments submitted from the sportfishing community, conservation groups, tribal entities and the general public. The council also received more than 500 postcards and petitions, all of which were in opposition to shallow-set longline gear. Additionally, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife made abundantly clear there were numerous unanswered questions and limited information.