President Trump on Friday vetoed a bill that would gradually eliminate the use of large-scale driftnet fishing in federal waters off the coast of California.
“By forcing the West Coast drift gillnet fishery to use alternative gear that has not been proven to be an economically viable substitute for gillnets, the Congress is effectively terminating the fishery,” the president said in a statement. “As a result, an estimated 30 fishing vessels, all of which are operated by family-owned small businesses, will no longer be able to bring their bounty to shore.”
The measure passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support last month. It was authored in the Senate by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and by Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) in the house.
“The recreational fishing and boating community has long advocated for transitioning away from large-mesh drift gillnets which needlessly kill non-target species including sportfish,” Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy, said in a statement at the time. “Today marks a significant victory for marine conservation, and we are grateful for the bipartisan effort to get the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act across the finish line.”