In just one year, an estimated 16 sperm whales were drowned in gillnets off the coast of California. That’s not counting the sharks, turtles, dolphins, and other open ocean animals that are caught in greater numbers.
These nets, which are supposed to catch swordfish, are notorious for killing some of our oceans’ most endangered species. They should be banned—but instead they continue to kill turtles, sharks, whales and more.
That kind of indiscriminate killing of ocean wildlife cannot be allowed to continue, so we are fighting to stop the use of swordfish drift gillnets off the coast of California.
You can help us meet our $40,000 goal if you chip in – and until October 31, every gift you give will be MATCHED for double the impact. Donate just $10 today and join the fight to stop deadly gillnets»
The destructive power of gillnets cannot be underestimated, even for the formidable sperm whale.
Up to 65 feet long and weighing over 50 tons, these deep diving whales can hold their own against nearly anything in the oceans. But sperm whales were prized by whalers in the 18th and 19th centuries for the spermaceti oil contained in their large heads, and were hunted mercilessly.
They grow slowly, taking time to raise their young between births. Without human interference, a sperm whale may live to be 70 years old. But a young whale caught in a net doesn’t just lose those decades of life—it loses its chance to have babies and help replenish a population still struggling from the effects of whaling.
Six weeks ago, we filed our formal intent to sue the federal government for violating the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This is precisely the kind of action that will force the government to protect endangered ocean wildlife threatened by gillnets.
While they can be expensive, these lawsuits work. A similar lawsuit in 2009 forced the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to grant protections for the endangered loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles. Our fight against the use of drift gillnets in places where endangered sea creatures reside could save more turtles and whales – but only if we have the resources we need to win.
For the oceans,