Donald Trump’s administration rejected a proposal for the protection of endangered whales and sea turtles, even if it was suggested by the fishing industry.
If ato many protected species were captured, tThis measure would have stopped fishing with driftnets off the west coast of the United States for up to two seasons.
But the National Marine Fisheries Service said it wasn’t necessary.
He would have had “a much more substantial [economical] impact on the fleet ”than originally anticipated, spokesman Michael Milstein said.
“In the end, it is a fishery that has worked hard to reduce its impact,” he said, adding that the cost of the new measure outweighed the benefits.
Commercial fishermen’s nets can be up to a mile long and thendangered species would have been captured there off the coast from California and Oregon.
So the undueStry’s Pacific Fisheries Management Board proposed to stop their use in 2015.
It applied to less than 20 fishing vessels, which began the implementation of the measure the following year under former President Barack Obama.
Catherine Kilduff, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity conservation group, said dropping the proposal was one of the first ways the Trump administration targeted endangered species in Pacific waters.
These included fin whales, humpback whales and sperm whales, pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins. Some of these species have shrunk to hundreds. For a group of humpback whales, there are only 411 whales left.
Leatherback turtles, olive ridley turtles and green turtles have also been affected.
“The Trump administration has declared war on whales, dolphins and turtles off the coast of California,” said Todd Steiner, director of the California-based Turtle Island Restoration Network. LA Times.
“This determination will only lead to more litigation and potential legislation regarding this fishery. This is not a good sign.”
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Under the proposal, if two endangered whales or sea turtles are killed or seriously injured within a two-year period, the gillnet fishery would be closed for up to two years.
If a combination of four pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins were seriously injured or killed within a two-year period, the practice would also be closed.
Still, Mr Milstein pointed to a federal study that found that endangered whales killed or injured in nets had grown from over 50 in 1992 to one or two a year in 2015.
The number of injured dolphins and turtles has also dropped dramatically, but the statistics have been disputed by some activists.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act still applies and protected areas off the west coast have been created that do not allow gillnet fishing.
Ms Kilduff replied that although the number of fatalities had decreased, any incident was still extremely important given the low numbers of some species.
Agencies contributed to this report.