In ‘incredible feat,’ Canadian sniper kills IS fighter from 2 miles away

A Canadian special forces sniper killed an Islamic State fighter in Iraq from 2.1 miles away, in what was feted as a new world military record for a confirmed kill from that distance, Canadian media reported on Thursday.

The shot, which took under 10 seconds to hit the target, thwarted jihadists from dropping a bomb on Iraqi forces, according to The Globe and Mail.

“This is an incredible feat. It is a world record that might never be equaled,” the paper quoted a military insider as saying.

The previous record, unchallenged since 2009, stood at 2,475 meters (1.5 miles) when British sniper Craig Harrison targeted a Taliban gunman. In 2002, another Canadian sniper, Rob Furlong, broke the record at 2,430 meters (1.5 miles).

“The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target at 3,540 meters [2.1 miles],” the elite forces said in a statement, according to the Canadian paper. “For operational security reasons and to preserve the safety of our personnel and our Coalition partners we will not discuss precise details on when and how this incident took place.”

The sniper used a McMillan TAC-50 rifle and fired from a high-rise building, according to the report. The incident was said to take place in the past month.

A military source told The Globe and Mail the “shot in question actually disrupted a Daesh [Islamic State] attack on Iraqi security forces.”

“Instead of dropping a bomb that could potentially kill civilians in the area, it is a very precise application of force and because it was so far way, the bad guys didn’t have a clue what was happening.”

Canadian forces are part of the US-led coalition to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

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Gunmen kill three Egypt policemen in Cairo gun attack

CAIRO, Egypt — Unidentified gunmen attacked an Egyptian police convoy near the main ring road around Cairo, killing three officers and wounding five others, the interior ministry said early on Tuesday.

“Armed elements riding in two vehicles approached a moving security convoy” around 11:45 pm Monday, the ministry said in a statement.

The convoy was crossing a roundabout that intersects with the main ring road that surrounds the capital, separating New Cairo and newer real estate projects from the city.

Police returned fire at the attackers’ vehicles, which police were pursuing “in an effort to apprehend the perpetrators,” the ministry said.

While no one claimed responsibility for the attack, Egypt has been fighting an insurgency by a local affiliate of the Islamic State group in North Sinai province.

Hundreds of soldiers and policemen have been killed in the insurgency since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Following deadly church bombings last month, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi declared a three-month state of emergency on April 10.

IS said it was behind the church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria on April 9 that killed 45 people.

The military has killed several of the group’s top leaders, but the jihadists have increasingly expanded their attacks from Sinai to other parts of Egypt, including Cairo.

US FORCES KILL ISLAMIC STATE MILITANT LINKED TO TURKEY NIGHTCLUB ATTACK

 

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/US-forces-kill-Islamic-State-militant-linked-to-Turkey-nightclub-attack-488619

 

The US on Friday disclosing a secret military operation that killed an Islamic State operative linked to the deadly New Year’s Eve attack in a Turkish nightclub. Israeli Lian Nasser was among the slain in the January shooting.

A CENTCOM spokesman said Abdurakhmon Uzbeki was killed during the ground assault near Mayadin, Syria on April 6th. Uzbeki was seen as a close associate of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

 

According to a military spokesman, Uzbeki helped facilitate the brutal nightclub attack which killed 39 people in Istanbul. ISIS said the attack was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.

Turkish authorities captured the suspected attacker in January following a two-week manhunt. Officials say he later confessed to carrying out the attack.

YouTube will kill unskippable 30-second ads next year

Google has announced that in 2018, it will end non-skippable 30-second ads that appear before a YouTube video. In a statement first given to Campaign then confirmed by The Verge, a Google spokesperson said the company will focus on commercial formats that are more engaging for both advertisers and viewers.

We’re committed to providing a better ads experience for users online. As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers,” Google said.

While this is good news, it doesn’t mean all unskippable ads are eventually going away. Formats that include 15- and 20-second ads will stick around; you’ll likely see more of the six-second “bumper ads” rather than ones that you can move past after five seconds. And again, the change is not expected to take place until at least 2018 so we still have many months to go.

Now if only it’ll also kill unskippable ads that appear in the middle of long videos. Sure, I’ll wait.

Adolf Hitlers Plan to Kill Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill at the Teheran Conference

http://whiteresister.com/index.php/18-history/1077-hitlers-plan-to-kill-roosevelt-stalin-and-churchill-at-the-teheran-conference?utm_source=WR-News+Campaign+1st&utm_campaign=d426668809-WR-News+Campaing+1st&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_70e342152e-d426668809-48298879

 

Many assassination attempts were made on Hitler’s life. Yet, not so well-known are the german assassination plans for the Allied leaders – President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and the Soviet leader, Stalin.

Hitler’s Waffen-SS had an entire team and a plan dedicated to assassinating all three leaders when they met in Tehran for a World War Two conference in 1943. The details of this plan have been revealed in a new book called Operation Long Jump: Stalin, Roosevelt, Churchill, and the Greatest Assassination Plot in History by Bill Yenne, who is a war historian and enthusiast.

The germans found out about the Tehran conference and began to plan how they could get rid of all the Allied leaders in one go since all three would be attending. The man leading the mission was Otto Skorzeny, who was also responsible for rescuing Italian wartime leader Mussolini when he had been deposed and imprisoned by the Italian authorities.

Otto planned for a team of paratroopers to drop on the outskirts of Tehran from the air and then hide in the houses of German sympathisers. Some of those paratroopers would be defectors from the Red Army who still had their uniforms. They would wear their army outfits and pretend to be part of Stalin’s security on the ground during the conference.

While Otto planned the mission, the Allies were also planning their response, since they had received intelligence from a Swiss agent that the german plan was afoot. Ernst Merser was a Swiss businessman who worked on international deals.

He gained the trust of the Germans and was asked to manage the equipment drops over Iran during the conference. Meanwhile, he was working for Allied intelligence; he made the plans known as well as the equipment and weapons that were to be used in the plot. In addition to Ernst, some of the Red Army defectors were actually spies planted into the Nazi war machine, and they were also feeding information back to the Soviet intelligence services.

Otto’s plan went ahead but when the paratroopers landed in Iran, the Soviet spies killed the German paratroopers.

The book also outlines what might have happened if the plan had gone ahead successfully. The successful assassination of the three Allied leaders could have potentially led to a peace deal with Germany, leaving it in control of its occupied territories across Europe.

New Trump foreign adviser accused of Holocaust denial: ‘Ovens were too small to kill 6 million Jews’

After choosing his team of foreign policy advisers, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is once again finding himself deep in it. One of his advisors, Joseph Schmitz, is being accused of anti-Semitic behavior. McClatchyDC reports:

Joseph Schmitz, named as one of five advisers by the Trump campaign in March, is accused of bragging when he was Defense Department inspector general a decade ago that he pushed out Jewish employees.

The revelations feed two themes that his opponent Hillary Clinton has used to erode Trump’s credibility: That he is a foreign policy neophyte, and that his campaign, at times, has offended Jews and other minorities.

Schmitz, who is a lawyer in private practice in Washington, denies all the allegations. But then, he is an adviser to Donald Trump, so of course he does.

In one complaint, Daniel Meyer, who is a senior official in the intelligence community, describes remarks by Schmitz in a complaint file.

“His summary of his tenure’s achievement reported as ‘…I fired the Jews,’ ” wrote Meyer, a former official in the Pentagon inspector general’s office whose grievance was obtained by McClatchy.

Meyer, who declined to comment about the matter, cited in his complaint another former top Pentagon official, John Crane, as the source and witness to the remarks. Crane worked with Schmitz, who served as inspector general between April 2002 and September 2005.

In Meyer’s formal complaint, Schmitz apparently lectured Pentagon official John Crane about Holocaust concentration camp details, while downplaying the Holocaust and saying:

 “the ovens were too small to kill 6 million Jews.”

Joseph Schmitz’s photo is seen below in this tweet.

Wow. Trump adviser “lectured on the details of concentration camps & how the ovens were too small to kill 6 m Jews” http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article96421087.html#storylink=cpy 

Photo published for Trump adviser accused of making anti-Semitic remarks

Trump adviser accused of making anti-Semitic remarks

Joseph Schmitz, named as one of five foreign policy advisers by Donald Trump’s campaign in March, is accused of bragging when he was Defense Department inspector general a decade ago that he pushed…

mcclatchydc.com

Right when you think the Donald Trump and his campaign can’t get any worse, this.

By the way, Joseph Schmitz and Donald Trump, the Holocaust victims weren’t killed in the ovens. Their bodies where cremated in ovens until the Nazis switched to mass graves. While conducting your foreign advisory board meetings, perhaps read up on some world history. You’ll discover most of the  Jewish Holocaust victims were shot, gassed, starved, burned alive, frozen alive, crushed alive, diseased, worked to death, beaten to death, and murdered while being used for human experimentation— without the use of anesthetics… You fucking fucks.

Syria airstrikes kill as many as 22, mostly children, outside school

Airstrikes in Syria killed up to 22 people, mostly children, on Wednesday when warplanes struck a residential area housing a school complex in the northern rebel-held province of Idlib, activists and rescue workers said.

PENTAGON: COALITION LAYING GROUNDWORK TO RETAKE RAQQA FROM ISIS

A team of first responders, the Syrian Civil Defense in Idlib, said 22 people were killed and at least 50 wounded in the raids on the village of Hass. Most of those killed were children, the group said in a posting on its Facebook page.

Another activist group, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, gave the same death toll and said 14 children and a woman were among those killed.

The activist-operated Idlib News network, which gave a lower toll of 17 people killed, said the strikes hit as the children were gathered outside the school complex. It said the death toll could rise as some of the wounded were reported to be in critical condition, the network added.

FAMILY OF ALLEGED ISIS BOMB PLOTTER SUES GERMANY AFTER APPARENT SUICIDE

Idlib is the main Syrian opposition stronghold, though radical groups also have a large presence there. It has regularly been hit by Syrian and Russian warplanes as well as the U.S.-led coalition targeting Islamic State militants.

Footage posted by activists online shows a huge plume of smoke rising from the area of the strikes and rescuers rushing casualties away along a dusty road lined with destroyed buildings.

A woman’s body is seen being carried on a stretcher while other bodies, covered in cloth and one with only a hat, lie under shrubs and other casualties are ferried away in pick-up trucks.

An activist at the scene, Muaz al-Shami, said as many as 10 airstrikes were believed to have hit the residential area.

The video content couldn’t be independently confirmed. However, it conforms with AP reporting on the events depicted.

Earlier in the day, the northern Aleppo province saw a new escalation as a helicopter believed to belong to Syrian government forces dropped barrel bombs in a deadly attack on Turkey-backed opposition forces in the border area, Turkish officials said.

A statement attributed to the field commander of Syria’s pro-government troops said any Turkish advances in northern Syria under the pretext of fighting IS militants would be dealt with “forcefully and appropriately.”

The barrel bombing was said to have occurred in the village of Tal Madiq, in a part of northern Aleppo where rival groups have been operating, mostly to rout Islamic State militants.

If confirmed, it would be the first attack by Syrian government forces on the Turkish-backed fighters. Turkey’s state-run news agency didn’t say when the attack occurred and said at least two Syrian opposition fighters were killed and five others wounded. A Syrian opposition spokesman said it took place Tuesday.

The Observatory’s chief, Rami Abdurrahman, said helicopters struck as intense clashes were underway between Kurdish-led fighters and Turkey-backed forces in Tal Madiq and that 11 Syrian opposition fighters and five Kurdish fighters were killed.

The Kurdish-led forces are now in control of the village, about 10 miles from the highly prized IS-controlled town of al-Bab. A senior Kurdish commander, however, denied Syrian government bombings of the Turkey-backed fighters, saying it was an attempted explanation for battlefield losses.

“They are trying to find a pretext for the loss. No aircraft were involved,” Mahmoud Barkhadan of the main Syria Kurdish militia, the People’s Protection Units, told The Associated Press by telephone from the region.

A spokesman for the Syrian fighting group Nour el-Din el-Zinki, Yasser al-Youssef, said the Kurdish-led forces attacked them while they were fighting IS militants in the area. Then Syrian government helicopters followed, he said in a message.

The complex terrain is a powder keg where confrontation among rival groups can break out anytime: U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters, Turkey-backed Syrian rebels and Turkey. Ankara sent tanks, troops and aircraft into northern Syria in August in an unprecedented incursion that it said was part of efforts to help Syrian opposition clear the border area of Islamic State fighters.

But Ankara is also seeking to contain the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State group, putting it at odds with its key ally, the United States. Ankara sees Kurdish fighters in Syria as an extension of its outlawed Kurdish militants and designated as a terrorist organization.

Syria’s military threatened last week to shoot down any Turkish warplane that enters Syrian air space, after Turkish jets raided villages in northern Syria in an escalation of Ankara’s offensive against Kurdish fighters.

On Wednesday, a statement attributed to the field commander of pro-government troops said Turkish advance under the pretext of fighting IS in northern and eastern Aleppo is an encroachment on the Syrian government’s area of operations and would not be tolerated.

The fall of al-Bab to Turkey-backed rebels would threaten the government’s siege on the rebels in the city of Aleppo, to the west.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that Turkey is determined to push ahead with the offensive in northern Syria — dubbed Operation Eurphrates Shield — and capture al-Bab from IS militants. It would not be deterred by the bombing of Tal Madiq, he said.

“Such attacks will not stop us from combatting Daesh,” Cavusoglu said, using an Arabic language acronym for the Islamic State group. “The Euphrates Shield operation will continue. The only goal of the Euphrates Shield operation is to clear Daesh from this area.”

ISIS Declares It Will kill Palestinians “one by one”’, Yet Remains Quiet On Israel

ISIS has declared war on Palestine, threatening genocide against the Palestinian people, following the murder of Hamas’ senior commander Saber Siam on Sunday. 

ISIS militants said that Siam was killed due to the fact he was “a partner in a declared war against religion and against Muslims, working for the heretical government in Gaza”.

Americans.org report:

The attack was conducted by ISIS-affiliated Salafist rebels who have also warned local residents to stay away from Hamas offices and buildings as it plans to carry out more attacks.

The conflict between Hamas and ISIS in Gaza started when Palestinian forces demolished a makeshift mosque used by Ansar al-Bayt al-Maqdis in early May.

Ansar al-Bayt al-Maqdis is an Egyptian Islamist group that has pledged allegiance to ISIS and has been recruiting Palestinians for the Islamic State.

After demolishing the Almtahabin mosque, Hamas then arrested seven men, including a local Salafist Sheikh Yasser Abu Houli.

ISIS claims it will kill Palestinians “one by one” and that it knows the names and addresses of all the officers working for the Palestinian Intelligence agency.

yournewswire

BOMBSHELL Email Shows Hillary Showed Terrorists How, When and Where To Kill Chris Stevens

We all know that Hillary compromised the our nation’s security and the safety of the four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens who lost their lives in the terror attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. One email that has just surfaced is revealing that not only did she compromise their safety and secrecy with her mishandling of top-secret information, but she may have led them right to Stevens’s door.

Breitbart reports that an email was forwarded by Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, from State Department employee Timmy Davis to the server.

Davis’s email described the unstableness of the situation. “The situation in Ajdabiyah has worsened to the point where Stevens is considering departure from Benghazi.”

“The envoy’s delegation is currently doing a phased checkout (paying the hotel bills, moving some comms to the boat, etc). He will monitor the situation to see if it deteriorates further, but no decision has been made on departure. He will wait 2-3 more hours, then revisit the decision on departure,” Davis’ss email continued.

This email is just one of many that outline Chris Stevens’ exact location to anyone that could have easily hacked the server.

An email sent in March of 2011 read, “The current game plan is for Mr. Stevens to move no later than Wednesday from Malta to Benghazi. He will stage offshore initially for a one day visit during which he will have meetings with TNC (Transitional National Council) interlocutors and get a sense of the situation on the ground. The goal of this one day trip is for him to lay the groundwork for a stay of up to 30 days.”

The emails even gave crucial details about Stevens’ ssecurity detail and precise location. “[The] security situation in Benghazi remains quiet. Chris Stevens & team are in the hotel, moving only for meetings as required,” read yet another email.
Furthermore, they mentioned Stevens’s location and travel plan in another email reading, “I want to let you know about a temporary rotation in Benghazi. TNC Envoy Chris Stevens has been on the road since March 13, when he began his outreach mission, and has been in Benghazi since April 5.”

If it wasn’t bad enough that these emails were feeding the terrorists a play by-play of where Stevens would be, how he would get there and who he would be with, matters were made worse with yet another email detailing his location and exact time he would be there.

“Stevens will be meeting with MFA in one hour and will make a written request for better security at the hotel and for better security-related coordination. He still feels comfortable in the hotel. They are looking into the idea of moving into a villa, but that is some way off.”

With this many extremely dangerous emails floating out there for anyone with the basic capability of hacking Hillary Clinton’s email server to find, it’s difficult not to believe the terrorists in Benghazi had no idea about how, when and where they could kill Ambassador Chris Stevens. This is way beyond even ‘extremely’ careless.

We can’t know for sure how much of this information the terrorists were actually in possession of and we may never know after the damage Hillary has done to these records during her Benghazi scandal coverup.

One thing is certain – Hillary doesn’t care about the safety of American people, only the safety of their votes. This is someone that we cannot let take control of our country.

Make sure to share this story on Facebook if you think Hillary should go to jail for letting those Americans die at the hands of terrorists.

Source: Conservative Tribune

Amazing Disgrace: California Is the Only State to Permit Driftnets, Which Kill Thousands of Whales and Dolphins (GOOD!!!)

http://www.alternet.org/environment/uncovering-californias-secret-massacre-whales-and-dolphins?akid=14598.275016.6VsvIY&rd=1&src=newsletter1063057&t=2

Until the 1980s, fishermen who fished for swordfish off the coast of California used harpoon guns to reel in their prey. As the industry modernized, the guns were exchanged for drift gillnets—gigantic nets the size of the Golden Gate Bridge that hang vertically in the water. By 1985, the catch reached a historic high, with fishermen landing more than 2,000 metric tons of fish. But there was a tragic and underdiscussed consequence of that approach.

A drift gillnet catches far more than just the target fish. It scoops up any marine animal unfortunate enough to swim in its path, including whales, dolphins and other marine mammals like seals and sea lions. Turtles, sharks, fish and even seabirds are also, inadvertently, trapped and killed by these nets. No surprise that environmentalists have dubbed them “invisible curtains of death.” But what may be surprising to many is that California is the last state in the nation to permit this destructive and unsustainable fishing method.

Turtle Island Restoration Project, a California-based international marine conservation organization, has been campaigning to end the use of drift gillnets, also called driftnets. Last year, they released a report titled California Driftnet Fishery: The True Costs of a 20th Century Fishery in the 21st Century that details the impact the state’s driftnet fishery has on marine wildlife.

While the fishery’s primary target is swordfish, the report reveals a shocking statistic: Only one in eight animals caught by the fishery is actually a swordfish. The unlucky, non-targeted species trapped by the nets are known as bycatch.

According to the report:

Over the past ten years, nearly a thousand air-breathing whales, dolphins and sea turtles have drowned, while thousands of sharks (that depend on constant movement) have suffocated. In the last ten years, an estimated 26,000 sharks overall were caught by this deadly fishery, with nearly 10,000 simply being tossed overboard.

The fishery was especially wasteful in its treatment of blue sharks. In the last decade, 8,186 blue sharks were caught, and an astounding 8,180 were discarded. Of those discarded, nearly 5,313 were dead. The fishery also caught an astounding 8,000 common thresher sharks (a candidate species for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act) and is further jeopardizing shark populations.

The report also found that, over the last decade, the fishery has killed around 900 marine mammals, among them bottlenose dolphins, gray whales, humpback whales, California sea lions and elephant seals.

Drift gillnets trap and kill an untold number of marine animals, like this pilot whale, in fisheries in California’s waters and across the world. (image: NOAA)

Remarkably, the California driftnet fishery comprises less than 20 boats, yet ranks among the worst 20 percent of all fisheries globally: The total combined bycatch of all the other fisheries on the West Coast would still not amount to the bycatch of this single fishery. Even more concerning is the heavy toll this fishery has taken on endangered species: One in every five animals caught in driftnets is listed as “threatened” on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Over the past 10 years, more than 20 critically endangered leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles have perished in California’s deadly nets.

“If these animals were washing up on our beaches and shores, we would be outraged,” said Joanna Nasar, Turtle Island spokesperson. “But because this fishery operates secretly off our coast, it is harder to see the impact.”

Driftnets: A global scourge

The trouble isn’t limited to California. Driftnets are used around the world and have caused the unintentional deaths of an untold number of marine animals.

In 2014, the Natural Resources Defense Council released a report, Net Loss: The Killing of Marine Mammals in Foreign Fisheries, which found a wide array of marine mammal species around the globe killed by the nets, from sperm whales in the Mediterranean, spinner dolphins in the Indian Ocean and false killer whales off the coast of Hawaii.

“For marine mammal populations, the problem is truly global, with at least 75 percent of all toothed whales species (like dolphins and porpoises), nearly 65 percent of baleen whale species (like humpback and right whales), and more than 65 percent of pinniped species (like sea lions) suffering from gillnet bycatch over the past 20 years,” said NRDC spokesperson Kimiko Martinez, in an email.

U.S. to foreign fishermen: Stop killing marine mammals

In August, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency responsible for managing and protecting the nation’s marine resources, issued regulations prohibiting the importation of seafood from nations whose fisheries kill more whales and dolphins than federal standards permit. “U.S. trade partners will need to show that killing or injuring marine mammals incidental to fishing activities, or bycatch, in their export fisheries do not exceed U.S. standards,” the agency said in a press release.

“Fishing gear entanglements or accidental catch is a global threat to marine mammal populations,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. (The agency is also known as NOAA Fisheries, being a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.) “Establishing these bycatch criteria mark a significant step forward in the global conservation of marine mammals.”

But while the federal government seeks to protect whales, dolphins and other marine mammals from unsustainable fishing practices in international waters, California has yet to take similar steps to protect these animals in its own waters. “The secret massacre off our California coast and slaughter of marine life is tolerated only to allow an economically marginal fishery to continue, even while costing taxpayers more than the value of the fish,” says Turtle Island.

Whale- and dolphin-safe? Not so fast

According to NMFS, Americans consume nearly 5 billion pounds of seafood per year—almost 16 pounds of fish and shellfish per person. Half is wild-caught and half is farmed. And though about 90 percent is imported, the agency notes that “a significant portion of this imported seafood is caught by American fishermen, exported overseas for processing, and then reimported to the United States.”

Sarah Uhlemann, international program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation nonprofit based in Tucson, Arizona, said the new regulations will force countries to meet U.S. conservation standards if they want access to the U.S. market, saving thousands of whales and dolphins from dying on hooks and in fishing nets around the world.” She added, “The U.S. government has finally recognized that all seafood consumed in the United States must be ‘dolphin-safe.’”

The new bycatch rules will have a global impact, forcing countries to ensure their activities are safer. But the rules will impact consumers as well. Following the rules’ five-year implementation period, shoppers will have a level of certainty that the seafood they eat isn’t tied to the wholesale slaughter of whales, dolphins and other marine mammals that is currently underway.

“People may assume that the fish they grab in the store is whale- and dolphin-safe,” said Zak Smith, a senior attorney with NRDC’s Marine Mammal Protection Project. “That simply is not true. But with this rule we can export U.S. marine mammal protections to our trading partners and significantly limit the carnage caused by poorly regulated fisheries. Whales and dolphins have suffered long enough.”

Better late than never

The new rules are more than four decades in the making, and come after a slew of petitions and letters to federal lawmakers and the fisheries service from consumers and environmental organizations, as well as litigation. They could have been issued as early as 1973, the year after President Nixon signed into law the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which prohibits the taking of marine mammals and places a moratorium on the import, export and sale of any marine mammal within the United States. The MMPA also requires nations exporting fish to the United States to demonstrate that their fisheries meet U.S. standards for protecting whales and dolphins.

Now, after 44 years, the U.S. government is finally implementing the law by establishing these new regulations.

“While not perfect, U.S. fishermen are required to take steps to protect marine mammals by modifying their fishing gear or avoiding marine mammal hot-spots,” Smith said. “Now, similar steps must be taken by foreign fleets seeking to sell their fish in the United States.”

“The public demands and the U.S. can—and by law, must—wield its tremendous purchasing power to save dolphins and whales from foreign fishing nets,” said biologist Todd Steiner, Turtle Island’s executive director. “We have the right to ensure that the seafood sold in the U.S. is caught in ways that minimize the death and injury of marine mammals.”

Lawmakers: Into the fray

While environmentalist hailed the new rules for international fisheries, they only apply to nations seeking to export fish to the U.S.—not to California’s own deadly fishery.

Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica) has entered the breach by authoring SB 1114, a bill that seeks to phase out the use of mile-long driftnets in California waters and outlines a plan to transition to a new, more environmentally responsible fishing method based on deep-set buoy gear.

Supporters of the bill sent more than 5,000 e-mails to the office of Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Nearly 27,000 people signed a petition that was distributed to the California Senate and lawmakers received hundreds of calls from concerned citizens. But though SB 1114 made it out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee, the bill didn’t make it out of the Appropriations Committee. In May, Sen. Lara didn’t allow the bill to go to a vote, thus ending the possibility of it becoming law this year.

The stalling of the bill does not reflect the feeling of California’s voters. According to a Pew poll published in August, 86 percent of California voters who learned about the pros and cons of fishing with drift gillnets favor an outright ban on the controversial method.

“The poll results align with our belief that the time has come for state fishery managers to reconsider their decision and stand with the strong majority of Californians who support the transition toward a better way of managing this public resource,” said Paul Shively, who directs Pew’s West Coast marine conservation efforts.

Activists joined a rally organized by Turtle Island to support SB 1114 in front of Sen. Lara’s office in Long Beach in May 2016. (image: Ocean Defenders Alliance)

“Although this bill ultimately did not succeed in becoming law, we are not giving up on saving thousands of ocean animals from being injured and killed by driftnets,” said Cassie Burdyshaw, advocacy director at Turtle Island, in an email. “We are doing everything to show the Senate the widespread public support for the bill, but we are fighting against the holdout fishermen and the powerful industry lobbyists. Dolphins, whales and sea turtles should not be held hostage to politics.”

Burdyshaw said the bill may be reintroduced in the state legislature’s 2017 session. But part of that decision depends on whether the Pacific Fishery Management Council follows through with its recent move to federalize California’s driftnet fishery, a move that would squash attempts by citizens, environmental groups—and even the state legislature—to reform the fishery. The Council has jurisdiction over the more than 300,000-square-mile exclusive economic zone off the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington.

“Instead of addressing the incredible amount of bycatch from the fishery, the Council’s answer is to remove the options Californians have to influence the fishery,” Burdyshaw told AlterNet. “If the fishery is federalized, the California legislature will no longer be able to save thousands of marine animals from being caught and killed unnecessarily in driftnets off California’s coast.”

In the meantime, Turtle Island “will closely monitor compliance to ensure the fewest dolphins and whales die in fishing nets to provide U.S. consumers with seafood,” said Turtle Island director Steiner, in an email.

A better alternative: deep-sea buoy gear

Over the years, California’s driftnet fishery has been closed numerous times to aid the survival of certain species, such as common thresher sharks and leatherback and loggerhead turtles. But looking at the bycatch numbers, these seasonal closures just aren’t good enough.

Steiner said that, while he “welcomes the new import regulations…it’s unfortunate that it took years and a lawsuit to compel the National Marine Fisheries Service to enforce this provision of the MMPA.” He also noted the hypocrisy of a federal rule making sure foreign fisheries implement safer fishing methods while California continues to kill whales and dolphins with impunity in U.S. waters. “At home, we need to clean up our worst fisheries,” he said, “including the California driftnet fishery.”

While citizens, lawmakers and environmental groups have tried to introduce reform to California’s fisheries, the PFMC, while seeking to federalize the fishery, is also making internal moves to clean house. In March, the Council unanimously voted to authorize more sustainable fishing gear that could replace deadly drift gillnets. The Council is looking at the use of deep-set buoy gear, which uses a hook-and-buoy system giving fishermen the ability to drop hooks as deep as 1,200 feet to catch swordfish. When fishermen see a buoy being submerged, it takes them just minutes to pull up the catch. If it’s not a swordfish, they can release the animal back into the water without having to kill it.

Currently, deep-set buoy gear is being tested in California, but the road to actual authorization of the gear is a long one. Jennifer Gilden, the PFMC officer responsible for ecosystem fishery management, told AlterNet that the Council got an update in June and made some changes in the process to encourage more test fisheries to use buoy gear—and to identify data gaps that need to be filled. She also said that in September, the Council “will adopt the list of data gaps and continue finding ways to encourage test fisheries, so they can have more data before they authorize the fishery.”

“If the Council does authorize a deep-set buoy gear fishery, it will take a while because it has to go through the NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] process,” said Gilden, admitting that it is a slow process “with public involvement at every step.”

U.S. fishing experts train Moroccan fishermen how to deploy deep-sea buoy gear off the coast of northern Morocco. In 2012, the U.S. and Morocco signed a Memorandum of Understanding to embrace modern principles of fisheries management, including transitioning Morocco from driftnets to buoy gear. (image: NOAA)

Deep-set buoy gear was authorized for use on the East Coast nearly a decade ago and has been proven to be a success. “It has reduced bycatch and helped to revitalize the small boat commercial fishing fleet in Florida by offering a simple, affordable way to catch swordfish,” according to Pew Charitable Trusts.

According to Pew:

This gear catches West Coast swordfish during the day and has been tested extensively over the past five years by scientists and cooperating fishermen, with minimal bycatch of nontarget species and a consistent catch of swordfish. In fact, buoy gear boasts a 94 percent marketable catch rate, meaning almost all of what is caught can be kept and sold.

Tara Brock, a senior associate with Pew’s oceans program, said the Council’s consideration of deep-set buoy gear is “a positive step toward a sustainable West Coast swordfish fishery.”

Treading water?

Still, there is skepticism. “After beginning the process to authorize deep-set buoy gear, the Pacific Fishery Management Council changed course at its June meeting and decided buoy gear will be allowed only through a handful of experimental fishing permits,” Turtle Island said in a statement.

The group is concerned that this decision effectively stalls the replacement of driftnets.

Turtle Island’s Burdyshaw told AlterNet that “the limited approval … means there is no guarantee that deep-set buoy gear will eventually be authorized, and fishermen who want to use it could be hesitant to invest in the gear.” Turtle Island has called on PFMC to put the approval of deep-set buoy gear back on track at its upcoming meeting this month and to begin to phase out drift gillnets.

So while the U.S. government is putting the thumbscrews on foreign fishermen, the war against driftnets continues apace in the Golden State. Burdyshaw said the new regulations for imported fish “would go a lot further to minimize the death and injury of marine mammals if the driftnet fishery off California’s coast was shut down. Countries will soon be required to meet U.S. conservation standards, but California’s driftnet fishery for swordfish is among the worst of all fisheries in the world.”

For the marine animals swimming in (and flying above) California’s waters, the stalling of SB 1114 is not a good sign. And for some environmentalists, the actions taken by PFMC appear to be a sign of equivocating on the matter. But 2017 is another year, another legislative session and another chance for the public to speak up and demand change. In the meantime, if you don’t want the indiscriminate killing of whales, dolphins, sea turtles, seals, birds and other wild animals on your conscience, ask your grocery seafood manager or restaurant server where their swordfish was caught before you buy it. If it came from California, chances are many other animals had to die for it as well, so try to make a more ethical choice.