With multiple species of marine wildlife becoming entangled in commercial Dungeness crab fisheries, species including humpback whales, blue whales, and leatherback sea turtles, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was asked to take an active role in helping fix this problem. The NMFS was asked to establish stronger standards for conservation plans and take a more proactive role in directing and coordinating these efforts with and between California, Oregon, and Washington.
Seven signatories, including Turtle Island Restoration Network, emphasized that entanglements of endangered species continue to occur at an unsustainable level. The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) require authorizations, but fisheries in the three states continue to do so without the proper authorizations.
The signatories asked the NMFS to direct the contents of Conservation Plans and the timing of their submission, rather than deferring to the individual states. Robust, science-based methods must be the way of the future to help ensure the long-term safety and protection of marine wildlife species. Strong leadership from the NMFS will help a great deal towards this goal.
To read the letter in its entirety, you can find it here.