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Driftnet Fishing

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Neema Safari

on 31 May 2013

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Transcript of Driftnet Fishing

Driftnet Fishing What is driftnet fishing? Driftnet fishing is a practice where gill nets are attached to floaters. The nets are then allowed to float freely at the surface of a sea or lake. They generally go 5 - 10 meters deep and can go up to 2.5 miles across. AKA "The Wall of Death" What makes them effective at catching fish is that to the naked eye the net, when underwater, is invisible and it has a certain material in the net that when caught in a fish's gills or body part it cannot get out. If it tries to it will further tangle itself. Thus trapping the fish. But why is it a problem? It is driving many species of underwater wildlife to endangerment and is ruining the underwater ecosystem. There are also Illegal fishermen who over-fish and use beyond standard size drift nets which impact the environment even more than normal driftnet fisheries. Where is it happening? This is happening all over the oceans but sometimes people use drift net fishing in large lakes. Although people can fish in their countries exclusive economic zone but they have to follow their country's regulations. Once they go out of their EEZ they have to follow international regulations. If they don't then they will be arrested. What types of wildlife is it affecting? Driftnet fishing is negatively impacting many species of underwater wildlife; Sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, and birds are its most common by-catches. What are some pros to driftnet fishing? The pros of driftnets are that they can gather lots of fish very efficiently over a short period of time, they are very cheap and easy to obtain, they are easy to handle and use, and if they used properly can gather certain types of fish very effectively and quickly However the cons outweigh the pros. The biggest cons of driftnet fishing are: Driftnets have the highest rate of by catch. Only 20% of species caught are target species. They also drive many species to endangerment. In addition, the net has a chance of being lost and just keeping catching and killing species until it is destroyed. This type of net is a ghost net. What types of fisheries use drifnets? Commercial and Artisan
fisheries are the types of fisheries that commonly use driftnet fishing. What are Ghost Nets? Drift nets are extremely harmful when they are released from the flotation devices because they are then free from the boat and become ghost nets. They just go around freely and catch much birds/underwater wildlife. Since they cannot be controlled they kill many species until they are torn up. Ghost nets cause a substantial amount of marine wildlife and sea birds to perish. They are mostly impacting sea turtles. It is estimated that 80% of ghost nets catch sea turtles, causing the sea turtle population to decline and go onto the borderline of endangerment. What are some of the policies of driftnet fishing? Driftnets cannot be any longer that 2.5 miles and there is a certain limit to the amount of fish you are allowed to catch. So what policy should be put in place in order to regulate drift net fishing? I believe that a petition should be made to have driftnet fishing banned in international oceans. The reason for this is because majority of wildlife that is being affected is in the high seas (the oceans) if people fished in their own EEZ then there would be no problem becuase they are only ruining their own land and what they do with driftnet fishing is their own responsibility. How would this petition take place? I will first bring this problem up to the executive branch of government with a signed petition of many people who would also like to ban driftnet fishing. Then I will ask Stephen Harper, who is our prime minster, to be my representative (since he is the person who deals with international affairs). If he accepts I will then bring this petition up to the UN to raise an international petition. I will have each country sign the petition. If majority of countries sign the petition then the ban of driftnet fishing in international waters is going to take place. The petition will include statistics of the impacts of driftnet fishing, the species it is impacting, and how it is more of a harmful fishing practice than any other. Then will ask at the bottom of the petition for the signature of each country leader who believes there should be a ban in driftnet fishing in international waters. Even Ashley Blacow, Pacific policy and communications manager for Oceana, agrees that driftnet fishing has a lot of by-catch and is affecting many species: "In 2011, the National Marine Fisheries Service estimates that drift gillnets took 16 endangered sperm whales," she said, "which is really amazing if you think about the diverse array of marine life and even just the vast size of marine life that are caught in these large nets."
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