Press Releases

            Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement after the Pacific Fishery Management Council unanimously voted to authorize the use of sustainable fishing gear in the California swordfish fishery.

            The equipment, called deep-set buoy gear, provides an alternative to driftnets that indiscriminately kill and injure many endangered and protected marine species. The proposal now goes to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Commerce to be proposed as formal regulations.

            “I thank the Pacific Fishery Management Council for taking a decisive step to provide fishermen with a better, more environmentally-friendly way to catch swordfish along the West Coast.

            “Today, the large mesh driftnets used off California’s coast to catch swordfish, kill many dolphins, whales and porpoises. In fact, these driftnets are so harmful they’re banned in all other West Coast fisheries. By approving use of deep-set buoy gear, a proven alternative, my bill to ban these driftnets should be able to move forward quickly.

            “California is home to some of the most diverse marine life in the world. But the driftnets used off California kill more dolphins, whales and porpoises than all other fisheries along the West Coast and Alaska combined. The use of this indiscriminate gear is unsustainable and must end.”


  • Last week, Senator Feinstein sent the Pacific Fishery Management Council a letter urging them to authorize the use of deep-set buoy gear.
  • Deep-set buoy gear is a sustainable alternative to driftnets, which inadvertently trap and kill more than 60 species of marine life.
  • Earlier this year, Senator Feinstein introduced the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, a bill that would ban the use of mesh driftnets in all federal waters within five years and authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help fishermen transition to more sustainable fishing gear.
  • Large mesh driftnets are already banned in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii. They are also banned in the Mediterranean Sea and all international waters.