Tag Archives: Center for Biological Diversity

In Battle Over Whale, Judge Tears Up Agency Stonewalling

A federal judge opened the door Thursday for environmentalists to bolster claims over a lobster fishery they blame for the declining population of an endangered whale. Ordering the National Marine Fisheries Service to produce discovery, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said the Endangered Species Act allows the agency’s challengers to use evidence outside the administrative record. “In order to accurately assess the alleged crisis of these cetaceans, the court will benefit from a record that reflects the actual, ongoing effects of the lobster fishery on the species,” the 16-page ruling says. The cetaceans at issue are called the North Atlantic right whale. There were roughly 455 right whales left as of 2016, and the Conservation Law Foundation says at least 18 of these have been killed since 2017. >click to read<16:28

Defenders of right whales pursue limits on aquaculture and fixed gear fisheries

Right whale defenders are now taking aim at aquaculture as they try to protect the highly endangered species from deadly fishing gear entanglements. Advocates usually focus on the lobster industry,,,Right whale defenders are now taking aim at aquaculture as they try to protect the highly endangered species from deadly fishing gear entanglements. Advocates usually focus on the lobster industry,,, Researchers from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, a U.K.-based nonprofit that advocates for marine animals, want regulators to reduce surface-to-seabed lines in all Gulf of Maine fisheries, not just lobstering. They name aquaculture and gill net as rope-based fishing methods that are known to entrap, injure and kill both humpback and right whales. They say it’s not fair for regulators, who are meeting next week, to seek rope reduction from lobstermen while issuing permits for other fisheries that use similar rope. >click to read<20:40

Trump administration settles lawsuit, agrees to protect humpback whale habitat

The suit by the Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation, a nonprofit that represents American Indian tribes, was settled Friday in federal court in San Francisco. The National Marine Fisheries Service agreed to designate critical habitat for the animals by mid-2019 and finalize those boundaries a year later. It means the migration routes of three endangered or threatened populations of humpbacks on the West Coast will be protected. >click to read<09:40

Center for Biological Diversity sues Trump administration to expand protected Southern Resident orca habitat along West Coast

The Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity said as it filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle.,,The lawsuit says the National Marine Fisheries Service has failed to act on the center’s 2014 petition to expand habitat protections to the orcas’ foraging and migration areas off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California — even though the agency agreed in 2015 that such a move was necessary. The center says the protections would help reduce water pollution and restrict vessel traffic that can interfere with the animals.“ click to read<16:36

Booker, Carper, Nelson Introduce Bicameral Bill to Establish Grant Program for Right Whale Conservation

U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tom Carper (D-DE), and Bill Nelson (D-FL), along with Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have introduced a bill to protect the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale. Booker is a member of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, Carper is the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Nelson is the top Democrat on the Senate’s Commerce Committee, which oversees ocean policy. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), along with Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Jared Huffman (D-CA), and Bill Keating (D-MA), has introduced a companion measure in the House of Representatives. >click to read<18:46

Hawaii’s commercial swordfish fleet shut down for rest of year

Hawaii’s commercial swordfish fleet has been shut down for the rest of the year following a court order aimed at protecting endangered loggerhead sea turtles. The National Marine Fisheries Service closed the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery in a move heralded Wednesday by conservation groups that sued for the turtle protections. Under the court order the swordfish fishery will close, and a new biological assessment will determine what the limit will be next year. “It’s a good result for all parties,” said Jim Cook, board member with the Hawaii Longline Association. >click to read<10:51

Marine Monument Case Aligns Trump, Conservationists

Cautiously aligned with the government in support of America’s first marine monument, environmentalists urged a federal judge Monday to sink a challenge by fishing groups. Designated by President Barack Obama in September 2016, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument encompasses 4,913 square miles off the coast of New England. Cordoned off from oil and gas exploration, as well as commercial fishing, the seabed within the monuments boasts four underwater volcanoes and three canyons. The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Conservation Law Foundation and naturalist Zack Klyver had all intervened in the case,,, >click to read<14:08

Whales and fishermen caught in turf war over California’s coast

As rising ocean temperatures move their food supplies closer to shore, a staggering number of migrating whales have been forced into the path of California’s crab fishing fleet — and the confrontations have increased dramatically over the last five years. State agencies have tried and failed to keep whales out of crab gear, prompting one nonprofit to take matters into its own hands.,, Some fishermen see this lawsuit as another nail in the coffin for California’s Dungeness crab fishery. >click to read< 09:20

Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s Failure to Protect Pacific Humpback Whales Threatened by Fishing Gear, Ship Strikes, Oil Spills

The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Wishtoyo Foundation today sued the Trump administration for failing to protect humpback whale habitat in the Pacific Ocean, where the animals face threats from fisheries, ship strikes and oil spills. Today’s lawsuit, filed in federal district court in San Francisco, aims to force the National Marine Fisheries Service to follow the Endangered Species Act’s requirement to designate critical habitat within one year of listing a species as threatened or endangered and not authorize actions that,,, >click to read< 16:12

Feds Sued to Force Protection of Alaska’s Pacific Walrus

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration Thursday over its denial of Endangered Species Act protection to the Pacific walrus. The lawsuit, filed in Anchorage federal court, challenges the October 2017 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finding the Pacific walrus does not warrant listing as a threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. “The service’s listing decision deprives the walrus of the ESA protections which it is both entitled to and desperately needs,” the complaint states. >click to read<15:30

Suit by animal protection groups follows deaths of 17 right whales in Canadian and U.S. waters last year

Conservation and animal-protection groups have sued the National Marine Fisheries Service in the United States, alleging it failed to protect right whales from entanglement in commercial fishing gear. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., late last week, alleges the federal management of the U.S. lobster fishery violates the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The lawsuit seeks to force the National Marine Fisheries Service to do a sufficient examination of the fishery’s impact on North Atlantic right whales and adopt additional measures to prevent entanglements. >click here to read< 18:55

Lawsuit filed to save North Atlantic Right Whales from death in fishing gear

Today’s lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., alleges that federal management of the American lobster fishery violates the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The lawsuit seeks to force the agency to sufficiently examine the fishery’s impacts on North Atlantic right whales and adopt additional measures to prevent more entanglements in the future. The lobster fishery is the most active fixed-gear fishery in the northeastern United States. >click here to read< 12:08 

Listing the Bearded Seal as Threatened: A Disturbing Victory for Untestable Hypotheses and Flawed Models.

The Center for Biological Diversity also petitioned to list thriving populations of Bearded Seals as threatened or endangered by melting sea ice. In response to their petition, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) assembled a Bearded Seal Biological Review Team (BRT). The BRT’s report can be read here. Oddly, despite promoting a threatened designation, the BRT reports Bearded Seals have existed for over 1-2 million years, surviving far greater bouts of climate change as the earth bounced between several ice ages and warmer interglacials. An interesting (click here) read by Jim Steele 18:25:37

Fishermen: ‘We want to be proactive’ – Making The Sea Safer For Whales

More than 30 times this year, the federal government has received reports of whales tangled in fishing gear along the West Coast. Sometimes the whales manage to wriggle free. Other times you see heart-rending pictures on the news or a rescue mission. The culprit often involves Dungeness crab pot lines. Now Oregon crabbers are working with marine scientists to make the seas safer for whales and to avoid a black mark on their brand.  Bob Eder has fished commercially out of Newport, Oregon for decades.  “Over 45 years of pulling crab pots—I think I’ve probably hauled in close to a million—I’ve never encountered an entangled whale,” he said.  ‘We want to be proactive’  click here to read the story 09:03

Enviro groups threaten Canadian snow crab imports over whale deaths

An alliance of U.S. environmental groups is preparing to ask Washington to ban imports of Canadian snow crab unless Ottawa steps up its efforts to save the endangered Atlantic right whales. Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said a provision of the United States Fishermen’s Protection Act allows the White House to ban imports of fish or seafood from a country if that catch is affecting conservation efforts of an endangered species. Monsell said snow crab is the target, because Canada has no mandatory regulations in place for snow grab gear or lines that could help keep whales from getting caught in them and Canada itself. click here to read the story 07:47

Conservationists plan to sue over right whale deaths

Animal conservation groups say they intend to sue the U.S. government unless North Atlantic right whales are better protected, following the deaths of 15 along U.S. and Canadian coasts. “We are literally facing the extinction of right whales due to human causes,” said Regina Asmutis-Silvia of Whale and Dolphin Conservation North America. In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, declared the deaths of North Atlantic right whales since June 7 an “unusual mortality event,” which triggered a focused and expert investigation into the causes. But the conservation groups want more. click here to read the story 10:01

Walruses adapt to loss of sea ice and are not endangered, feds say

Blubbery, clam-loving Pacific walruses are surprisingly resilient to the dramatic loss of polar sea ice as the planet warms and won’t be listed as an endangered species, the federal government announced early Wednesday. The decision is controversial. A scientist for a group that works to protect endangered animals called it a Trump administration “death sentence for the walrus.” But Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, the state’s all-Republican congressional delegation, Native hunters, Arctic Slope Regional Corp. and the state Department of Fish and Game all said it was the right call. “This decision will allow for the continued responsible harvest of Pacific walrus for subsistence and traditional uses by Alaska Natives,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in a written statement. click here to read the story 21:11

Environmental group sues California over whale-killing gear

An environmental group sued the state of California on Tuesday for allegedly not doing enough to keep Dungeness crab fishery gear from killing protected whales. The Center for Biological Diversity filed its lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco, saying the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is liable for a surge in entanglements of endangered whales and sea turtles because it authorizes and manages operation of the fishery. click here to read the story 15:18

Enviro Groups Demand U.S., Canada Act to Save North Atlantic Right Whales

Conservation and animal-protection groups today sought action by the United States and Canada to prevent painful, deadly entanglements in fishing gear that threaten the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. In letters to Canadian officials and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, the groups demanded action to reduce risks to these imperiled whales. North Atlantic right whales, one of the world’s most endangered mammals with fewer than 500 individual animals remaining on Earth, lost nearly 3 percent of their population this year. click here to read the story 14:00

Lawsuit Launched to End Whale, Sea Turtle Entanglements in California Dungeness Crab Gear

The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a formal notice of intent to sue California’s state wildlife agency for failing to prevent commercial Dungeness crab gear from entangling, injuring and killing threatened and endangered humpback whales, blue whales and sea turtles. California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife authorizes and manages operation of the fishery, which last year entangled at least 21 endangered or threatened whales, contributing to a third straight record-breaking year for entanglements along the U.S. West Coast. An endangered leatherback sea turtle was also caught in commercial Dungeness crab gear in 2016. Today’s notice letter notes that the Department’s failure to protect imperiled whales and sea turtles from entanglements in crab gear violates the federal Endangered Species Act. click here to read press release 20:47

US cancels new protection for endangered West Coast whales

The Trump administration on Monday threw out a new rule intended to limit the numbers of endangered whales and sea turtles getting caught in fishing nets off the West Coast, even though the fishing industry had proposed the measure. The National Marine Fisheries Service said it decided the new protection was not warranted. The action is one of the first by the Trump administration targeting protections for threatened species off the Pacific coast, said Catherine Kilduff, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity conservation group. The regulation was designed to reduce the numbers of humpback whales, leatherback sea turtles and other large creatures that accidentally become tangled in mile-long nets set adrift by commercial fishermen overnight to catch swordfish off California and Oregon. click here to read the article  (read between the lines, folks) 18:00

 

Judge says Butt Out! Environmentalists Can’t Help Defend Fishing Rules

Three environmental groups cannot join the U.S. government to defend against a challenge to an Obama administration rule requiring seafood companies to report the origin of the fish they sell, a federal judge ruled (click to open). The National Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and Oceana asked the court on March 7 to join the government in defending a suit from a group of fishing companies challenging the seafood traceability rule, which requires companies to disclose on a government form the vessel or collection point of origin for their fish. The companies say the rule will make seafood more expensive. The environmentalists say it is critical to protecting fish populations from illegal fishing. The environmentalists made specific arguments in support of the rule, telling U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta that reversal would affect their daily lives. Lol! affect their daily lives? What lives! click here to read the story 10:07

NRDC, CLF, CBD Acts to Defend Atlantic’s First Marine Monument

NRDC is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit that challenges the New England marine monument established last September—the first such monument off the continental U.S. Together with other supporters of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, NRDC today filed this motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed earlier this month by five regional commercial fishing associations. This ocean park spans almost 5,000 miles and safeguards ancient coral gardens, endangered sperm whales, Atlantic puffins, and literally thousands of other animal species for the benefit of all Americans. Our goal is to prevent it from being handed back to private industries for commercial exploitation, including commercial fishing, seismic surveying, oil and gas drilling, and mining. We also want to protect the President’s authority to designate future marine monuments and demonstrate that the other four marine monuments–designated by Presidents Obama and George W. Bush—were legally created. Our partners seeking to intervene include a naturalist who leads whale watch tours, Conservation Law Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). Read the rest of this stuff here 17:03

Pacific Bluefin Tuna Heads Toward Protection

pacific bluefin tunaThirteen conservation groups and a former National Fisheries biologist petitioned for federal protection for Pacific bluefin tuna, and the marine agency agreed listing may be warranted. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced Tuesday that it will begin a 12-month status review of the iconic fish as the first step in the long process to secure Endangered Species Act protection for the overfished species.  The Center for Biological Diversity, a frequent petitioner and litigator on behalf of imperiled species, was joined by Earthjustice, Defenders of Wildlife, WildEarth Guardians, Sierra Club, Turtle Island Restoration Network, the Ocean Foundation, Center for Food Safety, Greenpeace, Mission Blue, Recirculating Farms Coalition, The Safina Center, SandyHook SeaLife Foundation, and Jim Chambers, a retired NMFS biologist, owner of Prime Seafood sustainable seafood restaurant supply company and member of the Seafood Choices Alliance. Read the rest here 08:42

Environmental group dislikes new rule for listing, delisting or reclassification under the Endangered Species Act

angry enviroThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries finalized a rule Monday that changes the process by which species are petitioned for listing, delisting or reclassification under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Under the rule, first proposed in May 2015, petitioners will be required to notify each state wildlife agency where a species is located at least 30 days before submitting a petition to the federal government. The delay will gives states an opportunity to provide agencies with pertinent information on the species. The new rule also restricts the number of species that can be petitioned for at one time. Under the rule, only one species is allowed per petition. The Center for Biological Diversity was quick to slam the rule, calling it an “impediment” to using the Endangered Species Act. “These new restrictions on citizen petitions are nothing more than a gift to industries and right-wing states that are hostile to endangered species,” Brett Hartl, the group’s director of endangered species policy, said in a statement. Read the story here 10:34

Pointing the finger at “angry Fishermen” for Sea Otter shootings, a $20K Reward has been posted

california-sea-otter-enhydra-lutris-seen-resting-in-a-colony-of-sea-ottersA big reward is waiting for people who can give useful information about who shot dead three sea otters off the Central Coast. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s reward of $10,000 for the whistleblowers has been raised to $20,000 after the Center for Biological Diversity announced a similar amount on top of it. Those with information on the sea otter shootings can call the CalTIP line at (888) 334-2258 or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (650) 876-9078. There is apparent shock over the killing of cute and furry creatures. One report describes how they bring a smile to the face of onlookers, and animal rights advocates are enraged by the wanton killings. In the recent episode, two juvenile otter males and an adult male were killed between late July and early August. The dead bodies were washed up between Santa Cruz Harbor and Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, according to reports. – Read the story here 16:07

Environmentalists Wield Powerful Endangered Species Act to Kill Jobs

Think fish when you read this. From the article: The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is a radical environmental legal action group that’s known for frequently suing to block commercial, industrial, and personal activities in an effort to “save the environment,” regardless of who gets hurt. One of the group’s leaders and co-founders, Kieran Suckling, was a well-known activist in the 1980s and has been linked to vandalism and sabotage group Earth First! From its inception, CBD has sought ways to permanently stop natural resource use, and with the help of environmental attorneys, CBD has successfully weaponized the Endangered Species Act (ESA) against ranchers, loggers, miners, (fishermen) and human activity in general. Read the rest here 13:51

Hawaii’s longline fleet dodges hurricanes – Can they survive the Enviro Tsunami?

Bigeye tuna caught by Hawaii’s longline industry is in short supply right now as the fleet dodges Hurricane Ignacio and Hurricane Jimena. Some longline vessels that headed out, turned around without catching anything to avoid the powerful storms. In August, Hawaii’s longline fleet hit the bigeye tuna catch limit of 3,502 metric tons established by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.  Conservation groups, however, have filed a lawsuit to block the change,,, Video, Read the rest here 08:23

National Marine Fisheries Service deny petition from radical environmentalists to ban cod fishing

A group of radical environmental groups including the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace petitioned the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service to shut down the fishery until it shows rebuilding progress. The agency said in a denial published in the Federal Register on July 10 that the current restrictions on cod fishing will “provide sufficient protection” to rebuild the stock. The denial also states that the fisheries service intends to monitor updated information about the cod stock,,, Read the rest here 18:02

Center for Biological Diversity offended by F&WS – NMFS ESA Proposal

The two federal agencies tasked with listing endangered species jointly proposed to revise the Endangered Species Act’s petition process, but conservationists are not happy. The proposal published Thursday by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service would make the best use of available resources, increase “stakeholder engagement” and improve transparency, according to the agencies’ announcement. Calling the move “boneheaded,” the (CBD), a frequent petitioner and litigant,,, Read the rest here 19:40