Conservation groups are urging California officials to consider measures to prevent whale entanglements in fishing gear.
In a letter Tuesday to state fish and wildlife officials, Earthjustice, the Center for Biological Diversity and Oceana cite data from the National Marine Fisheries Service that shows 30 different whales were confirmed to have been entangled in fishing gear off the West coast in 2014. That's nearly double the number in 2013.
The groups are urging state officials to consider closing fisheries in areas where whales are feeding and reducing the number of vertical fishing lines, among other measures.
State Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Jordan Traverso said the agency is aware of the issue, agrees that it warrants priority attention and is already engaged in consultations with various stakeholders