Our goal is to stop the unnecessary deaths of whales in fishing gear and reduce marine debris.
In July of 2021, there were four whales, including a calf, sighted off the Orange County coast entangled in fishing gear. Despite efforts, none were saved. All are presumed dead of exhaustion, starvation, and drowning. And there may have been even more.
No one, including fishers, wants entanglement to happen, but today’s fishing gear creates undeniable dangers for marine life off California and also results in gear loss, which contributes to marine debris and is costly to fishers. To find solutions, EHL has teamed up with other conservation groups, Sustainable Seas Technology, and cooperative fishers in the Southern California spiny lobster fishery to introduce alternative gear that does not use buoy lines that extend to the surface and will not entangle whales. Rather, GPS is used to locate traps, which are remotely called to the surface.
With a generous grant from the Malk Nature Fund in San Diego, we have launched the first phase of a pilot project to test the gear and work with cooperative fishers We expect the program to get fully “in gear” with an educator going out on the boats in December or January. Watch our video at: https://f.io/soFdXAtV
In related news, this month, Sustainable Seas Technology had a booth at Pacific Marine Expo, a major commercial fishing trade show. There was much interest in ropeless gear.