U.S. withdrawal of California gillnet protections for whales, turtles ruled illegal

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The decision requires U.S. fisheries managers to take steps to implement the plan, which calls for placing numerical limits on the “bycatch” of bottlenose dolphins, four whale species and four sea turtle species snared in swordfish gillnets. As currently written, the regulation in question also would mandate suspension of swordfish gillnet operations altogether off Southern California if any one of the bycatch limits were exceeded. The Pacific Fishery Management Council endorsed the plan in 2015, and it was formally proposed for implementation by the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service the following year.