California–Don’t Take the Bait on Pelagic Longlines

West Coast fishery managers should maintain the ban on this destructive fishing gear

California–Don’t Take the Bait on Pelagic Longlines
Longlines
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Problem

West Coast fishery managers are considering reversing decades of evidence-based policy by lifting the prohibition on shallow-set pelagic longlines—one of the most damaging fishing methods in the world.

This move comes just a year after California passed legislation to transition its swordfish fishing fleet away from drift gillnets, another destructive fishing method. Any progress toward reducing harm to marine wildlife made by phasing out gillnets could be wiped out if pelagic longlines are allowed.

The ban on longlines has been in place since the 1990s—and with good reason:

  • In Hawaii from 2010 to 2016, pelagic longlines caught an average of 268 black-footed albatross a year.
  • Pelagic longlines hooked 41 blue sharks for every swordfish caught during fishing trials conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in West Coast waters from 2011 through 2013.

Solution

Keep the prohibition on shallow-set pelagic longline fishing gear in place.

Tell California’s fishery managers to not take the bait and to oppose any efforts to authorize West Coast pelagic longlines.