President Donald Trump has vetoed a bill that would have eliminated the use of large-mesh driftnets for commercial fishing off the California coast, saying the measure would be effectively ”terminating” the industry in the region, not achieve its purported benefits and worsen a seafood trade imbalance.
”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,” Trump wrote in his veto message to the Senate posted to the White House website. ”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. At a time when our Nation has a seafood trade deficit of nearly $17 billion, (the bill) will exacerbate this imbalance.”
The bill was authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., with West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito as a co-sponsor, and Reps. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., in the House.
Feinstein promised to ”reintroduce this bill on the first day of the new Congress,” according to The Associated Press.
The bill would have banned equipment in U.S. territorial waters already prohibited in similar areas in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of Washington state, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii.