SAN FRANCISCO, April 15 (Xinhua) — Attorney General Bob Ferguson of the U.S. State of Washington on Monday announced a victory against the federal government over the restriction of gillnet use to protect endangered marine species.
Ferguson’s office said the U.S. federal government has dropped an appeal of a District Court ruling that found it “unlawfully” tried to block gillnet regulations drafted to protect threatened marine life such as whales, dolphins and sea turtles.
The dispute arose after the Pacific Fishery Management Council based in Oregon State worked out rules in 2016 to restrict the “bycatch” of endangered species in gillnets.
The new rules, which were initially approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2016, were regarded by Ferguson as designed to “protect threatened and endangered species, including humpback whales and sea turtles.”
However, the National Marine Fisheries Service under the Trump administration reversed the rules in 2017 and refused to publish the final regulation.
But the reversal was later challenged by Oceana, an international environmental advocacy organization, which brought a lawsuit against the federal government at a district court. Washington State joined the legal battle in support of Oceana.
The federal government had appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, but has decided to give up 15 days later.
Court documents showed that dozens of whales including humpback and sperm whales, 32 sea turtles and more than six bottlenose dolphins were caught in drift gillnets in California between 2001 and 2015.
The Trump administration’s dismissal of the appeal on Monday represents the 19th legal victory of Ferguson against the federal government.
LINK ORIGINAL: Xinhuanet