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'Phasing Out Gill Nets'

October 08, 1987

My thanks to The Times for your editorial supporting the proposal that we ban the use of gill nets along our coast, ("Phasing Out Gill Nets," Sept. 23). Simply put, this method of fishing is as wasteful as it is destructive. Wasteful because for every fish that is kept, two or three other hapless creatures end up as commercially worthless "incidental kill."

Air-breathing mammals like seals and whales often drown once they become entangled in the nets. Though humans drown in seconds or minutes, marine mammals can take up to an agonizing 40 minutes before they finally run out of breath.

It is a theory that many whales strand themselves on beaches when they are dying because they wish to avoid drowning. If noncommercial species such as sharks or rays are found in the nets, then they are killed if they aren't dead already so they won't swim back into the nets again.

By killing so many different species of sea life in such unprecedented numbers, gill nets are threatening to destroy the fragile and interdependent ecosystem of our coastal waters--the same coastal waters that are already threatened with pollution.

It has been said that "the only good fisherman is a fisherman who cares." By continuing such a damaging method such as gill netting you have to question whether the gill netters are even concerned about the next generation of fishermen.



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