The Government Relations Committee from the CCA CAL State Board of Directors have recently put forth a position against the commercial fleet using longlines because of the many bycatch issues that are associated with the gear-type. Commercial boats are authorized by the Western Pacific Council, based in Hawaii, for shallow long lines on the high seas, i.e., outside of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which extends to 200 miles off the California coast. They operate with hard caps and are required to maintain 100% observership while fishing, but are also allowed to land their caught fish in California.
Recently, the National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) awarded permits to certain boats, allowing them to fish longlines within the EEZ and are also landing those fish in the state of California. NMFS is now considering allowing the use of longlines outside the EEZ, which could potentially bring even more longliners to the Golden State.
“As numerous worldwide scientific studies have shown, CCA CAL is concerned about bycatch issues associated with Longlines. Therefore we are against the use of any Longlines off the California coast. We also do not want to see any development of a Longline infrastructure in our state,” CCA CAL Chairman Bill Shedd said in a statement.
Along with CCA CAL, the American Sportfishing Association, the International Game Fish Association, and Wild Oceans have all adopted similar positions on this issue. The Council will meet in November in Costa Mesa, CA where the topic of Longlines is expected to be on the agenda.