West Coast
The Mercury News

CA - California’s gill-net buy-back helps endangered species in Monterey Bay sanctuary

An environmental nonprofit out of Monterey is applauding this year’s state budget that is funding a transition away from deadly gill-net fishing by awarding commercial fishermen cash for turning in their nets — nets that have ensnared endangered sea turtles heading into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

MONTEREY — An environmental nonprofit out of Monterey is applauding this year’s state budget that is funding a transition away from deadly gill-net fishing by awarding commercial fishermen cash for turning in their nets — nets that have ensnared endangered sea turtles heading into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Gill-net fishing involves a wall of netting that hangs in the water column, typically made of monofilament or multifilament nylon. They can stretch out for a mile, and at one time a couple of miles. They ensnare everything except for fish small enough to swim between the meshing.

Depending on the size of gill-net meshing, animals can become entangled around their necks, mouths and flippers, according to NOAA Fisheries, an arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Entanglement can prevent proper feeding, constrict growth or cause infections. Marine mammals entangled in set gill nets can drown.

They are called gill nets because when a fish enters the meshing and then tries to retreat, its gills become caught in the mesh. These nets are deployed outside of the marine sanctuary but can catch migratory marine wildlife that comes into sanctuary waters each year.

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