Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after President Trump vetoed the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act.
This bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Feinstein and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) would phase out harmful large mesh drift gillnets that are only used in federal waters off the coast of California to catch swordfish and are responsible for a high percentage of bycatch including whales, dolphins and sea turtles.
“By vetoing the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, President Trump has ensured that more whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other marine species will be needlessly killed, even as we have a proven alternative available.
“California is the only U.S. fishery that uses large mesh drift gillnets. Our bill would phase out these dangerous nets and help the industry transition to more efficient, sustainable and profitable methods like deep-set buoy gear. Testing has shown that 94 percent of animals caught with deep-set buoys are swordfish, resulting in far less bycatch than drift gillnets.
“Let me be clear: This bill passed the Senate unanimously. It passed the House with overwhelming support. California banned the nets in state waters. There is broad support for this proposal and the president’s veto was irresponsible.
“We must protect marine life from deadly drift gillnets, particularly considering there is a viable alternative ready to be deployed. There is not enough time to override the veto so I will reintroduce this bill on the first day of the new Congress and will push for quick enactment once President Biden is in office.”