President Donald Trump has pledged to reduce red tape and regulations for businesses in the United States. It is a worthy goal, but it has led to some curious decisions. For example, the Administration just tossed a new rule intended to limit the numbers of endangered whales and sea turtles getting caught in fishing nets. This rule however was supported by the fishing industry. Thus, this was a rare case where conservationists and corporations agreed. It was the Trump Administration that did not agree. Not only was the rule proposed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council had proposed the new regulation in 2015, but the federal government has been implementing the plan.
The National Marine Fisheries Service announced that it no longer considered the rule to be needed despite its impact on a threatened species off the Pacific coast
The industry said that it supported the rule to reduce the killing of humpback whales, leatherback sea turtles and other large creatures that accidentally become tangled in mile-long nets. These nets are set adrift by commercial swordfish fishermen overnight off California and Oregon. Under the rule, if too many whales died, drifts nets could be stopped for two fishing seasons.
The regulation allowed for shutting down swordfish fishing with the drift nets for up to two fishing seasons if too many of the endangered animals were getting caught in the nets.
The change will increase the losses of endangered fin, humpback, and sperm whales, short-fin pilot whales and common bottlenose dolphins, as well as endangered leatherback sea turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, olive ridley sea turtles and green sea turtles.