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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

CA bill aims to reduce marine mammal entanglements in set gillnets

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Thursday, March 14, 2024   

A new bill aims to reduce the number of sea lions, sharks, rays, skates and giant sea bass dying off the coast of Southern California in huge set gillnets the size of 20 football fields, weighted to the sea floor.

Right now, set gillnets are banned in most state waters and Assembly Bill 2220 would extend the ban to a 3-mile radius around the Channel Islands.

Caitlynn Birch, Pacific marine scientist for Oceana, said the bill also stops crews profiting from certain species accidentally caught in the nets.

"It will remove the exemption that allows set gill net fisheries to incidentally catch and sell great white sharks and giant sea bass, which are both protected species and not allowed to take commercially or recreationally for any other fisheries in California," Birch pointed out.

Opponents cited concerns about the effect on fishing crews' bottom line. About 30 fishermen still have active set gillnet permits in Southern California. The state has stopped issuing new permits and the bill would make existing permits nontransferable.

The bill would also give the California Department of Fish and Wildlife the authority to require independent monitors on fishing boats but would not make them mandatory. Right now it is up to fishing crews to self-report when they accidentally catch a protected species.

"Having the authority to place third-party observers on vessels would allow for the collection of unbiased data on specifically bycatch, which is being thrown overboard at sea and isn't otherwise able to be tracked," Birch explained.

Supporters contended more selective hook and line fishing methods have significantly less bycatch and typically yield higher prices for fish considered better quality seafood.

Disclosure: Oceana contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Environment, and Oceans. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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