Gillnets, crab pots and crab traps are among many discarded #marinedebris and fishing gear that continue to "ghost fish" - entrapping marine animals such as whales, seals, sea lions, turtles and sharks. There were 61 recorded whale #entanglements off the U.S West Coast in 2015 alone (NOAA Fisheries). To mitigate the issue, the California Governor last year signed The Whale Protection & Crab Gear Retrieval Act into law which is designed to "reduce the number of whales caught caught in fishing gear by creating financial incentives for the state's #Dungeness and #Rock crab fishermen to collect any abandoned gear they find during the offseason" (SB1287). Previously, it was unlawful to remove any gear that belonged to another person. It is estimated that 40,000 Dungeness crab pots may be lost every year between California and the Canadian border (Department of Fish & Wildlife). When a whale, shark or turtle becomes entangled in abandoned fishing gear, the weight causes the animal to become exhausted, often leading to drowning or suffocation. If not immediately, the impeding debris can stop an animal from feeding, amputate tails/fins and will cut into the flesh over extended periods of time. Each year around the globe over 640,000 tons of fishing gear is lost in the ocean (E. Hogan, World Animal Protection 2016) having devastating impacts on the environment. This legislation is an important step in the right direction to #cleaningupouroceans with fishermen, community and government working together. Washington and Oregon also have postseason recovery programs in place and influential groups like @SeafoodWatch, that take ghost gear into account when rating a fishery if there's strong evidence that it's a problem, providing further financial incentives to remove abandoned gear from the water. Download their app to support #sustainablefishing and make informed choices to #saveourseas. Post by @saltybluegypsy. 📸 by @sustainablecoastlineshawaii at James Campbell Wildlife Refuge in Kahuku, Oahu! This is a reality for our beaches and ocean!