The ongoing battle to prohibit longlining within the West Coast Exclusive Economic Zone made significant gains when the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) voted to give preference to this option in a preliminary draft of its proposed Highly Migratory Species (HMS) plan. While the plan must undergo a series of reviews before it is scheduled to be implemented (sometime this year), California's angling public considers the preference to prohibit longlining a victory, largely because pelagic longlines pose a threat to the state's striped marlin fishery.
"The Council's vote is a precedent-setting action that recognizes the danger of expanding longline fishing to California's coastal waters," says Tom Raftican, executive director of United Anglers of Southern California. "We applaud the PFMC - and California's Department of Fish & Game - for its leadership in establishing a preference for sustainable fisheries."
The HMS plan draft should soon be presented for public comment. For more information, visit http://www.pcouncil.org.