The fact that more often than not fishing activities result in the catching of more than just the targeted species is no news.
However, various laws are meant to regulate the negative impacts fishing can have on marine wildlife by asking fishermen to halt all activities once they reach their take limits for threatened and endangered species.
Recent news on the topic of marine wildlife conservation informs us that one Hawaii-based swordfish fishery has officially been granted permission to capture and eventually kill more leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles than it did in the previous years.
In raw numbers: its quota for leatherback turtles is now 26 per year, whereas the quota for loggerhead sea turtles is 34 per year. Up until now, the fishery was only allowed to catch 17 specimens belonging to each of these two species per year.
For those unaware, both leatherback and loggerhead turtles are endangered species, which is why conservationists and environmentalists had some problems in taking this piece of news lightly.
Ben Enticknap, presently working as Pacific project manager for green-oriented organization Oceana, stated that, “This decision is outrageous. On the one hand the federal government acknowledges Pacific leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles are endangered and that more needs to be done to protect them. At the same time they say it is okay for US fishermen to kill more of them.”
As members of this organization warn, it is quite likely that this decision will also translate into the death of more whales, dolphins, sharks, tunas and other similar marine species that are not explicitly targeted by this Hawaii-based fishery, simply because the nets will probably spend more time in the water.
Given the fact that these new fishing regulations stand to be officially implemented on the 5th of November, 2012, Oceana hopes that something can still be done in order to keep them from taking effect.