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America's 'Radical Elders' continue their work for fairness, justice; SCOTUS upholds law disarming domestic abusers; Workplace adoption benefits help families, communities; Report examines barriers to successful post-prison re-entry in NC.

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A congresswoman celebrates Biden protections for mixed status families, Louisiana's Ten Commandments law faces an inevitable legal challenge, and a senator moves to repeal the strict 19th century anti-obscenity and anti-abortion Comstock Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Report: Fishing Crews Greatly Under-report Endangered Bycatch

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Monday, November 22, 2021   

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- California swordfishing crews failed to self-report any of the sea turtles and more than 98% of the marine mammals they killed or injured in drift gillnets from 2010 to 2018, according to a new analysis by the nonprofit Oceana.

The group has shared its data with the Pacific Fishery Management Council, which is looking at requiring federally trained observers on each boat.

Geoff Shester, California campaign director and senior scientist for Oceana, said when captains dump their bycatch and lie about it, they are undermining conservation efforts at the expense of ocean wildlife.

"One of the species we're most worried about is the Pacific leatherback sea turtle, which is really on the brink of extinction and may be gone from our waters in a matter of a couple of decades," Shester pointed out.

Six years ago, the council recommended observers on 100% of commercial swordfishing boats, and caps on bycatch of nine species of marine mammals and sea turtles, which would trigger closure of the fishery once those limits are exceeded. But under the Trump administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service refused to implement those recommendations.

The State of California is paying crews to start using deep-set buoy gear, which experts say is much safer for marine wildlife, although critics say the swordfish catches may be smaller.

Shester argued ultimately, fishing crews need to stop using drift gillnets altogether.

"So far, over half of the fleet has actually participated in that program and received funds to switch over to cleaner gear that doesn't catch marine mammals and turtles," Shester emphasized.

Congress is considering legislation to phase out the remaining drift gillnet fishery.


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