The Trump administration on Monday tossed out a rule on marine protection for whales and sea turtles caught in fishing nets off the West Coast.
The rule change was made despite the fishing industry’s having proposed the measures in the first place, according to the Associated Press. The National Marine Fisheries Service, a division within the Commerce Department, said it decided the new protection rules were not warranted.
“Under the proposed regulations, caps would have been established for five marine mammal species and four sea turtle species,” the agency explained in a final action published in the Federal Register Monday afternoon. “When any of the caps were reached, the fishery would have been closed for the rest of the fishing season and possibly through the following season.”
The rules were proposed in 2016 under the Obama administration. The federal agency said the decision was based on an extensive federal study. “As a result of its analysis of the effects of the proposed rule, NMFS has decided that the changes covered in the proposed rule from 2016 are not warranted at this time.”
Some conservation groups called the action one of the first by the administration to target protections for threatened species off the Pacific coast, according to AP.