(From NPR / By Alan Yu)– A new rule that takes effect this week seeks to protect marine mammals from becoming bycatch. The rule requires foreign fisheries exporting seafood to the U.S. to ensure that they don’t hurt or kill marine mammals.
If U.S. authorities determine that a certain foreign fishery is harming these mammals, the fishery will be required to take stock of the marine mammal populations in places where they fish, and find ways to reduce their bycatch. That could involve not fishing in areas with high numbers of marine mammals. Fisheries will also have to report cases when they do end up hurting mammals. This is what American fisheries are already required to do under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).
Up to 90 percent of seafood eaten in the U.S. is imported, most of it shrimp, freshwater fish, tuna, and salmon. The goal of the new rule is to ensure that seafood coming into the country didn’t harm or kill marine mammals.
But can this new rule protect the vaquita?