Can sustainably caught swordfish make waves on the California Central Coast?

MONTEREY — Will sustainably-caught swordfish receive a wave of support from Central Coast fishermen, consumers and restaurateurs?

Clean-fishing advocates sure hope so as efforts continue to phase out the use of drift gillnets — the mile-long, 100-foot-wide nets currently used to catch swordfish — which  commonly collect and kill protected species like whales, dolphins, and sea turtles.

On Sept. 28,  Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1017, which requires the state Department of Fish and Wildlife get funding for and enact a transition program that would help fishermen switch to alternative fishing gear.

Under the program, up to $10,000 would be offered for fisheries to turn in their drift gillnet permits, and transition to “clean-fishing” gear.

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