WASHINGTON, D.C.— A bill to ban gill nets from California is headed to the U.S. House of Representatives with a singular spokesman for the fishing industry: AFTCO President Bill Shedd.
“The indiscriminate nets are an out-of-date fishing method that is already prohibited off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, as well as in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico,” says the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). “These walls of death must be eliminated from all U.S. waters once and for all.  California was the last state to allow drift gill nets. The Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act (S. 906/H.R. 1979) would align federal law with California law that has recently been passed and signed by the governor.”

According to AFTCO Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Casey Shedd, his father, Bill was nominated by the CCA, American Sportfishing Association, and the Center for Sportfishing Policy to represent the fishing industry in the House discussion. Shedd—who’s father Milt laid the modern foundation of AFTCO and famously founded SeaWorld in 1959—has long been an advocate for sustainable fishing and conservation of fisheries. In 2017, Shedd was presented with the ASA’s most prestigious award, it’s Lifetime Achievement Award, at the organization’s annual sportfishing summit.

“It’s a special moment for both AFTCO and dad, as this represents the final leg in a 30-plus year fight to permanently remove gill nets off California’s coast,” said the younger Shedd. “The first significant milestone happened with the passing of proposition 132 in 1990, which removed set gill nets from state waters in Southern California. A part of this week’s process is a verbal for statement, a verbal against statement, and then for there to be a question and answer segment.”

You can view the full hearing below. Shedd’s statement begins around 59:00.