U.S. asked to halt swordfish imports
The California legislature on Monday passed a joint resolution urging the U.S. government to halt swordfish imports until it can ensure marine mammals are not seriously harmed or killed by swordfish fishing gear.
Assembly Joint Resolution 8, authored by Bill Monning (D-Carmel), asks the National Marine Fisheries Service to require countries exporting swordfish to the United States to provide information on the fishing methods used to catch the fish and verify that programs are in place to protect marine mammals, such as sea turtles, from incidental harm or death, including fishery monitoring and enforcement activities.
If a country fails to prove they’re in compliance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act, then swordfish imports from that country should be immediately banned, according to the joint resolution.
The joint resolution was prompted by a petition the Turtle Island Restoration Network of Olema, Calif., submitted to the U.S. government in March.
The United States imported nearly 20 million pounds of swordfish last year, according to NMFS.