Conservation group sues Trump administration over sharks

Conservation group sues Trump administration over sharks
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An environmental group is suing the Trump administration, demanding it protect a species of shark.

Oceana argues that a rule issued last month by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) does not go far enough to protect dusky sharks from overfishing.

The lawsuit was filed against the Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NMFS.

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At issue is a process known as “bycatch,” where fishing boats accidentally catch sharks. Oceana argues the federal government is not enforcing the bycatch standards strongly enough to prevent overfishing.

“Dusky shark populations off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts have plummeted by at least 65 percent in the past two decades as a result of overfishing and bycatch,” Oceana said, referring to the species of large sharks.

“It’s a bit like trying to reduce car accidents by posting a speed limit but not monitoring traffic and stopping cars for speeding," said Andrea Treece, an attorney for Earthjustice who is representing Oceana in court.

"Ultimately, you need to actually enforce the limit to get drivers to slow down."

Oceana has long pushed the federal government to protect dusky sharks from overfishing, filing a 2015 lawsuit that resulted in the Obama administration agreeing to issue stronger rules.
 
But Ocena was not satisfied with the proposal published last year by the Obama administration, or the final rule issued last month under Trump, spurring the latest lawsuit.
 
A spokesperson for the NOAA declined to discuss ongoing litigation.
 
Updated: 5:08 p.m.