Sportfishing community celebrates halt on West Coast longlines

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The Pacific Fisheries Management Council voted to not proceed with consideration of an amendment that would authorize shallow-set longline gear use for West Coast migratory species — a move that was considered a win in the sportfishing community.

“As leaders in conservation, we support sustainable fishing practices in all sectors,” said American Sportfishing Association Pacific Fisheries policy director Danielle Cloutier in a statement. “Industrial pelagic longlining has an abhorrent record of wasteful bycatch and unsustainability. This practice contravenes our collective goals of reducing bycatch and ensuring quality fishing opportunities for future generations. We’re thankful that the council came down on the right side of this issue, which is in the best interest of our community.”

In a significant win for the sportfishing community, the American Sportfishing Association, Wild Oceans, the Coastal Conservation Association of California and the International Game Fish Association came together to advocate for sportfishing interests. Shallow-set longline gear creates bycatch that can negatively impact the health of recreationally important fish populations.

Public comment on this issue was significant, with nearly 50 separate comments submitted from the sportfishing community, conservation groups, tribal entities and the general public.

The council also received more than 500 postcards and petitions, all of which were in opposition to shallow-set longline gear. Additionally, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife made abundantly clear there were numerous unanswered questions and limited information.

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