More than 100 chefs, scientists, fishermen, sustainable seafood consumers, and wildlife advocates gathered Nov. 14 at a Carlsbad, California, restaurant to celebrate the successful development of gear that can improve the way the state’s commercial fishing fleet catches swordfish. The 3 Cheers for Buoy Gear event at Land & Water Company, a leader in the sustainable seafood movement, was co-hosted by the restaurant and The Pew Charitable Trusts.
For decades, fishermen targeting swordfish have used large-mesh drift gillnets, which often ensnare and kill other species such as dolphins, sea turtles, and whales. That’s why Pew has been urging the Pacific Fishery Management Council to authorize the use of deep-set buoy gear, which targets swordfish more selectively and yields high-quality catch with minimal harm to other marine life.
Here are three reasons the council should grant that authorization now.
1. Deep-set buoy gear is an effective way to catch Pacific swordfish with minimal harm to nontarget species (bycatch).
2. Deep-set buoy gear has the potential to provide a large quantity of swordfish to the West Coast that would help meet domestic demand and could lower reliance on imported swordfish.
3. Fishermen land buoy-caught swordfish faster than fish caught with large-mesh drift gillnets, yielding a higher-quality product.
You can help get deep-set buoy gear approved for the West Coast swordfish fleet! Join Pew in asking the Pacific Fishery Management Council to authorize this gear so that fishermen can pursue swordfish without harming other marine life.
Paul Shively directs The Pew Charitable Trusts’ work on ocean conservation in the Pacific.