Trump Removes Protections For Marine Life Trapped In Fishing Nets

Trump threats
Trump's war on the environment now includes ending protections for endangered marine life

Endangered sea turtles, dolphins, whales, and other marine life trapped in fishing nets will no longer be protected under the Trump administration.

The sword fishing gill net rule intended to save the lives of endangered marine life was thrown out on Monday, as part of what could be called Trump’s war on the environment, wildlife, and other species struggling to survive.

Following the announcement that the Trump administration had canceled the proposed limits on the number of endangered marine life that could be killed or injured by sword-fishing nets, Todd Steiner, director of the Turtle Island Restoration Network, told the Los Angles Times, “The Trump administration has declared war on whales, dolphins and turtles off the coast of California.”

Opponents of the new gill net rules, which were proposed in 2015, claim they aren’t necessary. However, the real reason for the objections are more likely tied to the profits of a small, but powerful group of commercial fisheries:

The Spokesman-Review reports:

Economically, the new rule would have had “a much more substantial impact on the fleet than we originally realized,” said Michael Milstein, a spokesman with the federal fisheries service, which killed the rule.

The rule would have applied to fewer than 20 fishing vessels that use mile-long fishing nets to catch swordfish off California and Oregon. The change would have shut down the drift gill net fishing for swordfish for up to two seasons if too many of nine groups of whales, sea turtles or dolphins were getting caught in the nets.

Dominique Mosbergen notes in the Huffington Post:

Katherine Kilduff, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, stressed that even if by-catch numbers are decreasing, gill nets continue to kill and injure many species, including endangered leatherback turtles and humpback whales.

Given the low numbers of some of these populations, every single death or injury is significant. The Pacific leatherback turtle, for example, is the world’s most endangered marine turtle, with as few as 2,300 adult females left in the wild.

But none of this matters to Donald Trump.

By his actions, Trump has done more to create lasting, potentially irreversible damage to the delicate balance of the planet than anyone could have imagined. And the worst part of it is, he’s only been in office for five months. It doesn’t take the use of a crystal ball to see that the wholesale destruction of environmental and endangered species protections will not make America, or anything else ‘great.’

Featured image via,  Gage Skidmore, CC2.0 

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Tobin is a political junkie and animal rights advocate who believes that if people can stand on line to buy junk food, they should also be able to stand on line to vote. Tobin is the author of "Afterlife: The Journey of a Dog's Spirit" now available on

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