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Trump Administration Cancels Proposed Limits on Marine Mammals, Sea Turtles Trapped in Fishing Nets

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Residents watch a rare leatherback turtle being prepared for release at sea in a village on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on May 19, 2010, after it was trapped on May 18 in a fishing net. (Credit: STR / AFP / Getty Images)

The Trump administration announced Monday that it has canceled proposed limits on the number of endangered whales, dolphins and sea turtles that can be killed or injured by sword-fishing nets on the West Coast.

Although the restriction, proposed in 2015, was supported by both the fishing industry and environmental groups, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division said studies show that the pending rule is not warranted because other protections have dramatically reduced the number of marine mammals and turtles trapped in long, drifting gill nets.

“The fishery was been under pressure for years to reduce its impact, and it has been very successful doing that,” said Michael Milstein, a NOAA fisheries spokesman. “The cap would have imposed a cost on the industry to solve a problem that has already been addressed.”

The decision brought immediate criticism from environmental groups that had joined the Pacific Fishery Management Council in an effort to further protect a variety of marine mammals and turtles.

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