Wildlife | Animals

The Government Just Axed A Rule That Would Protect Endangered Whales and Sea Turtles

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), under President Trump's administration, has decided to throw out a rule that would protect endangered whales, sea turtles, and other sea creatures.

On Monday, the NMFS announced the existing protections were 'already working' so there was no need for any additional legislation.

The rule would have applied to less than 20 fishing vessels, shutting down their use of mile-long drift nets for the purpose of catching swordfish. Too many endangered animals get trapped and injured by the nets, so the restriction would have lasted for two fishing seasons in an attempt to allow the endangered species affected to re-populate. Dolphins, whales, and sea turtles are all affected by the drift nets.

A sea turtle is caught in a drift net. Global Possibilities

According to Michael Milstein, a spokesperson for the NMFS, the new rule would have had "a much more substantial [economical] impact on the fleet than we originally realized."

The NMFS believe the measures in place are effective enough to protect the endangered species. One of these measures is putting pinging warning devices on nets so certain animals could hear it and avoid the danger.

"The bottom line is this is a fishery that's worked hard to reduce its impact," Milstein said.

However, Catherine Kilduff, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group, says the pinging devices aren't nearly enough.

"If they catch one, it's a huge problem for the population," Kilduff said.

One group of humpback whales only has a population of 411, so losing just one could mean terrible things for them.

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