Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Whales, Sea Turtles Threatened by Trump Administration Proposal

Animals
Whales, Sea Turtles Threatened by Trump Administration Proposal
A short-finned pilot whale hangs lifelessly in a California drift gillnet. NOAA

The Trump administration proposed a rule Tuesday to federalize regulation of drift gillnets used to catch swordfish on the West Coast. The rule would end California's right to prevent the deadly entanglements of sea turtles, whales and dolphins in these underwater, mile-long nets.

The Obama administration last year proposed a rule that would shut down the fishery for two years if two large whales or sea turtles were harmed by the nets, but the Trump administration withdrew that proposed rule in June. Legislation to phase out drift gillnets was introduced in California in 2014 and 2016, and the new federal rule would preempt such efforts in the future.


"The Trump administration is seizing control of this fishery to stymie efforts to protect sea turtles, whales and dolphins from these deadly nets," said Catherine Kilduff, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. "This cynical move perpetuates the status quo. Leatherback sea turtles, humpback whales and sperm whales have to dodge this dirty fishery when they need to feed in the rich waters off California."

The new proposal to federalize oversight was recommended in March by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, which manages fisheries in California, Oregon and Washington. The recommendation was opposed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and a coalition of more than 15 environmental groups, including Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Center for Biological Diversity.

"Trump's move to federalize the drift gillnet fishery is irresponsible and puts reasonable resource management and the well-being of our ocean ecosystem at serious risk," said Cassie Burdyshaw, advocacy and policy director at Turtle Island Restoration Network. "Drift gillnets are walls of death that need to be phased out, not shielded from reasonable state regulations."

Reindeers at their winter location in northern Sweden on Feb. 4, 2020, near Ornskoldsvik. JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP via Getty Images

Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan, experienced some of their warmest temperatures on record in the summer of 2020. Ken Ilio / Moment / Getty Images

Heatwaves are not just distinct to the land. A recent study found lakes are susceptible to temperature rise too, causing "lake heatwaves," The Independent reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Starfish might appear simple creatures, but the way these animals' distinctive biology evolved was, until recently, unknown. FangXiaNuo / Getty Images

By Aaron W Hunter

A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.

Read More Show Less
U.S. President Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office as he signs a series of orders at the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2021. Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

President Joe Biden officially took office Wednesday, and immediately set to work reversing some of former President Donald Trump's environmental policies.

Read More Show Less
Erik McGregor / LightRocket / Getty Images

In many schools, the study of climate change is limited to the science. But at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, students in one class also learn how to take climate action.

Read More Show Less