It may be too early to tell if the Trump administration’s proposal to cut the number of species of marine fish on the brink of extinction is the kind of bold environmental reform that would truly benefit our planet.
But the proposal is a step toward a long-term shift toward cleaner, more sustainable fisheries, according to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
In a new report, the group argues that the proposed quota reduction for marine fish would actually save species that would otherwise be at risk.
“We believe that the most direct and effective way to reduce oceanic biodiversity is to eliminate the current global fish stocks of about 300 species,” the Pew report reads.
“In other words, we propose that the United States, by cutting its current fish quota, save a species of Pacific walrus, or Pacific walleye, or some other fish of special concern.
We also propose that this species be added to the list of threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, and that we provide the funds necessary to expand the list to include more fish.”
The report makes it clear that a lot of species, including endangered marine fish, have already been severely depleted, and the number and type of fish on our oceans is not likely to improve anytime soon.
The Pew report also notes that the reduction in the number is likely to have a detrimental effect on the health of ocean animals.
It also suggests that reducing the number by a fraction of a percent of its current level would actually help the oceans, since the fish that are currently on the edge of extinction have higher survival rates than the animals that are not.
Pew has argued for years that the species of the ocean are “overpopulated,” and that the U.S. and other nations need to do more to save them.
In the report, however, the researchers suggest that the Trump plan could be a step towards actually solving that problem.