Multiple undercover investigations have exposed blatant animal cruelty and widespread destruction of marine life, including sharks viciously stabbed and repeatedly bludgeoned over the head with a baseball bat, animals allowed to slowly suffocate, and seabirds and dolphins drowning after being trapped by driftnets.



Dolphins drown in driftnets, unable to surface for air after becoming entangled.
Dolphin trapped in net


Animals are mercilessly left on boat decks, gasping for oxygen and slowly suffocating.
Fish suffocates


Sharks are viciously cut apart, stabbed, and beaten over the head with a baseball bat.
Shark beaten


Endangered, threatened, and protected species are harmed by California driftnets.
Sea lion trapped in net


Driftnet fishing is responsible for widespread destruction of marine wildlife.

For every one swordfish caught by the commercial driftnet fishing industry, an estimated seven other marine animals are also entangled, injured, and killed in these nets. And at least six endangered, threatened, or protected species are harmed by driftnets off the California coast.

U.S. Residents Outside California

A federal bill to ban cruel driftnets has been introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the U.S. Congress! If you live in California, your representatives already support the bill.

If you live outside California, please tell your representatives in Congress to support these important bills!


Driftnets are mile-long walls of netting that float in the ocean. They are extremely harmful as notoriously high numbers of sea animals, including protected species, such as dolphins, sea lions, and seabirds, are caught, killed, and thrown away by the driftnet fishing industry. These animals are referred to as “bycatch.”

This loss of life is a massive threat to marine ecosystems.

Driftnets are already banned in many countries, and only one driftnet fishing industry remains in the United States—in federal waters off the coast of California.


  • Fish

    Scientific research indicates that fish experience emotions and physical pain. Fish are also far more intelligent than we give them credit for. For example, they learn by observing one another and cooperate to achieve common goals.

  • Dolphins

    Dolphins are considered one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. They can recognize themselves in mirrors, solve problems, follow recipes, and create personalized whistles that act as names for individual members of a family group.

  • Sharks

    Sharks have been on Earth longer than dinosaurs and have survived several mass extinctions. Sharks display both intelligence and curiosity; they have been observed gently investigating unfamiliar objects in their environments and can even recognize certain boats and divers.

  • Sea Lions

    All species of sea lions are mammals. Females give birth and nurse the pups. Sea lions are very communicative and display a wide array of sounds, such as roaring, barking, and even trumpet-like honking.

  • Seabirds

    Seabirds depend on the sea for survival. They are highly social and live in colonies of a few dozen birds to thousands. Seagulls mate for life, and couples gather each year during mating season to reproduce and raise their offspring.

This isn’t the first time Driftnets Have Been Exposed

The End Driftnets Coalition, which includes Mercy For Animals, Turtle Island Restoration Network, SeaLegacy, and Sharkwater, has released groundbreaking investigations uncovering horrific animal cruelty caused by driftnets in California. The video footage reveals how marine animals—including protected species, such as dolphins, sea lions, and seabirds—are routinely trapped and killed in the commercial fishing industry’s driftnets. Animals are documented being stabbed, cut apart, pierced with hooks, and caught in nets and drowned or left to slowly suffocate aboard driftnet fishing boats off the coast of California.

The End Driftnets Coalition is a national alliance that comprises Mercy For Animals, Turtle Island Restoration Network, SeaLegacy, Sharkwater, and compassionate individuals working toward a society free of the driftnet industry and its devastating impacts on marine animals and the ocean ecosystem.

Special thanks to Larry Brown, Sharkwater, and On Wings Of Care