The Pacific leatherback sea turtle, at up to 2,200 pounds the largest turtle on earth, could disappear from our oceans, yet Trump regulators have OK’d a type of fishing that could wipe out the massive animals.
Pacific leatherback sea turtles are one of eight turtle species the Fisheries Service has identified as most at risk of extinction. The number of West Pacific leatherback sea turtles declined about 6% a year from the 1980s through 2011.
An estimated 562 nesting female adults survive now. In 2040, that number is projected to drop to 260 adult females in 2040, so few that leatherbacks likely could not make a comeback.
Despite this, in April the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a two-year permit to allow two boats to fish for swordfish 50 to 200 miles off the coast of California and Oregon using fishing lines with hundreds of baited hooks. The lines, up to 62 miles long, also catch turtles, seals and birds. David Haworth, captain of the Pacific Horizon, and John Gibbs, captain of Southern Horizon, are named in the permit.
The Trump administration sees the issue through a very different lens, concerned not about the potential extinction of a species, so much as American trade in seafood.
“By value, nearly 90% of the seafood” Americans eat is imported and more than half of that is from aquaculture such as salmon raised in pens in the oceans, according to the Commerce Department. The U.S. imported $14 billion more seafood in 2016 than it exported.
The amount of swordfish caught off the West Coast has declined 96% since 1985, in large part because of the decrease in fishing with mile-long gillnets. They are called ”walls of death” because the hundred foot high webs trap fish by their gills.
In September, Jerry Brown, then the California governor, signed a law to ban gillnets to catch swordfish.
The miles-long baited hooks lines make for efficiency for fishing boat operators, but at a huge cost in deaths of sea life other than swordfish that get caught on the hooks.
Duke professor Martin D. Smith, the president-elect of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, criticized the “naïve belief that the seafood trade deficit should be a national concern” could harm our planet’s oceans.
In 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a case from Hawaii that the fisheries service improperly minimized the risk of longline fishing to loggerhead sea turtles, another type of endangered turtle. In that case, the federal court in Hawaii ordered the fishery to close through Dec. 31, 2018.
The fisheries service asserted that there would be no significant impact on leatherback sea turtles from longline fishing. The fisheries service said longline practices have changed to reduce the number of sea turtles killed.
Longline fishing would not be allowed in 16,910 square miles of ocean off the California coast that is designated as leatherback critical habitat. Observers would be on the boats, and fishing would end if a leatherback turtle is killed under the permit issued by the Trump administration.
Trump’s ignorance has touched off a new crisis in Kashmir
While Americans parse conspiracy theories about billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s demise in a Manhattan jail cell, Trump’s sinister role in helping light a fuse in one of the most dangerous areas of the world has gone virtually unnoticed – by the U.S. that is.
India’s abrupt takeover on Aug. 5 of the Muslim-majority Kashmir state was a double whammy for the seven million inhabitants of this once-storied Himalayan kingdom nominally ruled by India and bordered by arch-enemy Pakistan as well as China, both of which claim territory in the region. All three countries have nuclear weapons.
How Moscow Mitch won a new Russian plant in his home state of Kentucky
Critics of a Kremlin-linked industrial giant investing $200 million in a new aluminum plant in Kentucky gives Moscow political influence that could undermine national security. Pointing to Moscow’s use of economic leverage to sway European politics, they warn the deal is a stalking horse for a new kind of Russian meddling in America, one that exploits the U.S. free-market system instead of its elections. What worries national-security experts is not that any of the businessmen who put the deal together broke any laws. It’s that they didn’t. A Time magazine investigation found that the Russian aluminum company, Rusal, used a broad array of political and economic tools to fight sanctions the U.S. had placed on Russian businesses, establishing a foothold in U.S. politics in the process. To free itself from sanctions, Rusal fielded a team of high-paid lobbyists for an intense, months-long effort in Washington. One of the targets was Kentucky’s own Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who helped thwart a bipartisan push to keep the sanctions in place. Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, one of Rusal’s longtime major shareholders contributed more than $1 million through his companies to a GOP campaign fund tied to McConnell.
We can already predict where Trump really stands on Hong Kong for one very depressing reason
As China masses troops outside Hong Kong to put down popular protests seeking freedom, Donald Trump made clear that he has no idea what to do, an admission of utter incompetence. But from his past comments and behavior we know what to expect—Trump will side with mass murder over freedom seekers.
"The Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation—very tough. We’ll see what happens,” Trump said Tuesday in Morristown, N.J.
"It’s a very tricky situation. I think it will work out and I hope it works out, for liberty,” he said. “I hope it works out for everybody, including China. I hope it works out peacefully. I hope nobody gets hurt. I hope nobody gets killed.”