Oceana sues US Government over failure to protect species from drift nets

August 23, 2017 | Environment
Turtles: threatened by drift gillnet fishery | Photo: Sauvin/Creative Commons

One of the largest international ocean conservation organizations is suing the Trump administration for going against the will of its fishery advisors.

Oceana, established in 2011 by a group of foundations, states that Donald Trump's administration has withdrawn protections that would have saved sea turtles, whales and other marine life from horrifying deaths.

"These animals are drowning in drift gillnets meant to catch swordfish off the California coast," notes the nonprofit organization.

"These drift gillnets are indiscriminate killers of animals like short-finned pilot whales - swimming along the coast of California, they get caught in the nets. Unable to wrestle free, they slowly drown."

Drift gillnets: they entangle, injure and kill marine life | Illustration: Oceana

Ocean underlines that the President's cabinet didn't follow the guidelines and suggestions made by the State of California and many other private and public parties.

"In 2015, the Pacific Fishery Management Council approved major steps to protect nine whales, dolphin and sea turtle species caught as by-catch in drift gillnets, including increasing monitoring in the fishery to 100 percent by 2018," adds Oceana.

"By transitioning to proven clean methods to catch swordfish, we can make drift gillnets a thing of the past. There's such a simple solution: Buoy gear is a sustainable alternative to these nets. We can save countless sea creatures – we just have to make the switch."

Oceana believes that with an administration that's hostile toward ocean conservation and an active fishing season underway, rare, threatened, and endangered marine life is in imminent danger.