Tag Archives: Center for Biological Diversity

Feds Tap 300,000 Square Miles of Pacific for Humpback Whales

The proposed rule is the result of a settlement with the National Marine Fisheries Service, who were sued last year for not following through on a 2016 plan to designate two groups of Pacific Ocean humpback whales as endangered and a third group as threatened. The Center for Biological Diversity, joined by Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Wishtoyo Foundation, filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of California claiming the lack of action by the Trump administration violated the Endangered Species Act. >click to read<  16:25

Feds seek expanded habitat protection as salmon, orcas battle climate change, habitat degradation

Advocates for the designation say it provides another layer of review and more legal protection for the whales. “We are thrilled,” said Steve Jones, spokesman for the Center for Biological Diversity,,, However, Lynne Barre, head of killer-whale protection for NOAA, said she did not anticipate big changes if the designation is approved after a public comment period, because activities such as dam operations and fishing already are subject to review by the agency for their effect on endangered species. >click to read<  13:32

9 U.S. environmental groups seeking Canadian snow crab import ban, stronger right whale protections

“We do believe that, at this point, at least Canadian snow crab needs to be banned from the United States,” said Sarah Uhlemann, program director of the Seattle-based Center for Biological Diversity. Uhlemann was one of nine conservation groups who signed a letter sent Tuesday to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) urging it to “press the Canadian government to immediately strengthen right whale protections, in order to avoid an import ban and to help save the species from extinction.”  >click to read< 07:35

Whale entanglments are down on the West Coast. The reason for the reduction is in question.

According to the NOAA, as of Aug. 23, the National Marine Fisheries Service reported 17 confirmed whale entanglements in 2019, compared to 40 for the same period a year prior.,,, The reason for the sharp reduction in entanglements is in question.,,, Pieter Folkens, a permitted whale disentangler for NOAA, said the Center for Biological Diversity’s claim of victory is premature. He said shortening the crab fishing season had little influence on the number of entanglements this year. >click to read< 11:01

Though impossible to prove, Con group claims early end to crab season helped reduce whale entanglements

Though impossible to prove, the Center for Biological Diversity credited the improvement to removal of commercial Dungeness crab gear from California coastal waters in mid-April, under a legal settlement,,, Sonke Mastrup, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, was less willing to make a definitive connection,,, His boss, agency director Chuck Bonham, had linked the initial spike in entanglements with environmental factors that in 2016 shifted the location of forage fish and whale feeding grounds at the same time that a toxic algae bloom delayed the start of the commercial crab season by 4 1/2 months. The result was that most of the crab fleet had gear in the water at the same time whales came up the coast to feed,,, >click to read< 11:06

Fewer Whales Caught in Crabbing Gear After Settlement, but,,, there’s always that but,,,

The National Marine Fisheries Service reported 18 whale entanglements through Aug. 23, 2019, compared to 40 ensnared whales found during the same period last year. “We are really happy that the numbers are lower this year, but we think there still needs to be progress made on reducing the risk of entanglement,” said Catherine Kilduff, senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. >click to read< 09:06

Enviros sue Trump Administration for Failing to Protect Endangered West Coast Orcas

Conservation groups sued the Trump administration today for ignoring a legal petition to protect critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales in the heart of their Salish Sea habitat. Today’s lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington by the Center for Biological Diversity and Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance (ORCA), follows news that three more of these starving orcas are presumed dead, dropping their population to just 73. >click to read< 18:12

Oregon wants to untangle whales from crab fishery

The number of whales entangled so far this year off Oregon, Washington state and California appears to be down compared to prior years, according to preliminary reports. But Oregon wants to avoid a lawsuit like the one brought against California by the Center for Biological Diversity. That lawsuit, over impacts to whales from commercial fishing activities, settled in March. For now, fishery managers will eliminate a two-week postseason cleanup period in the commercial Dungeness fishery,,, >click to read< 15:57

Leatherback sea turtles likely to go extinct under Trump administration policy, lawsuit argues

Leatherback sea turtles are likely to be “effectively extinct within 20 years” if two new federal permits for fishing off the coast of California go into effect, environmental groups claim in a new lawsuit. In April, the Trump administration granted new two-year “exempted fishing permits” to two California-based vessels in what are currently protected waters.,,, National Marine Fisheries Service,,, the federal agency said the permits “are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.” The longline fishing will have to halt immediately if “one mortality of a leatherback sea turtle is observed.>click to read<14:03

Charter fishing fleet casts wary eye toward possible fishing cutbacks to save orcas

Pacific Northwesterners are undeniably fond of their endangered resident killer whales. Many locals are also fans of salmon fishing, a hobby that sustains charter fishing fleets in coastal harbors from Neah Bay, Washington, to Brookings, Oregon. But now there is a chance future fishing trips on the ocean could be curtailed to leave more food for the killer whales. Regulators are preparing to reassess the Pacific salmon harvest and an environmental lawsuit seeks more action to save orcas. >click to read<

‘We Were Blindsided:’ Crab Fishing Closure Could Mean Millions in Losses

At the April 9 Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting, the security check-in station resembled a metropolitan airport with a long line of people stretched out the courthouse doors and halfway down the stairs to Fifth Street. All seats in the chamber were filled, the space between the chairs and the wall was filled with people standing, and others waited outside the door for a chance to speak. The source of the commotion was a sudden and unexpected closure of the Dungeness crab fishery. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife had ordered all crab fishermen throughout the state to remove their gear from the ocean by April 15. >click to read<14:40

At Humboldt County Board of Supervisors – Blindsided Crabbers Congregate

As the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting got underway at its normal 9 a.m. start time, there was still a line of people extending out the front door,,, local crab fishermen who had shown up in force to support a resolution aimed at saving the local fishery from “devastating economic harm,” The threat comes in the form of a recent CBD – PCFFA settlement,,, “We were blindsided by this ruling,” said crab fisherman Zach Rotwein of Trinidad.,,, Pacific Choice Seafoods General Manager Rick Harris said his company recently made a $1.2 million investment,,, “This is a travesty and a disaster for the community,” said crab fisherman Patrick Davis, who owns two fishing boats and employs “eight or nine guys.” >click to read<22:49

Environmental groups sue to restrict salmon fishing for Northwest orcas

The Center for Biological Diversity, which filed a lawsuit nearly two decades ago to force the U.S. government to list the orcas as endangered, and the Wild Fish Conservancy asked the U.S. District Court in Seattle on Wednesday to order officials to reconsider a 2009 finding that commercial and recreational fisheries did not jeopardize the orcas’ survival. >Video, click to read<10:09

Con Groups File Intent to Sue to Protect Atlantic Sharks, Giant Rays From Lethal Longlines, Gillnets

On behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice today filed a notice of intent to sue the Trump administration for failing to protect oceanic whitetip sharks and giant manta rays from being killed by longlines and huge nets used by U.S. fishermen in Atlantic fisheries. >click to read<13:59

Harbor responds to whale entanglement settlement, give crabbers extra free time to store gear

Recognizing they had the “rug pulled out from under them” due to the outcome of a lawsuit over whale and sea turtle entanglements, Crescent City Harbor commissioners have given the local Dungeness fleet extra time to store their crab pots for free at the port. Commissioners voted 4-0-1 Thursday to allow fishermen to store their pots for free from April 1 to May 15. The Harbor District’s decision comes after the Center for Biological Diversity reached a settlement agreement with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to end the current commercial Dungeness season statewide three months early on April 15. >click to read<10:21

California’s Commercial Crabbing Season to End Three Months Early

Center for Biological Diversity Press Release: SAN FRANCISCO— Californians will be pleased to know that Dungeness crab will be caught off the coast with greater care for endangered wildlife under a settlement announced today by the Center for Biological Diversity, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. The legal settlement protects whales and sea turtles from entanglement in commercial Dungeness crab gear. The Center for Biological Diversity sued the state wildlife department in October 2017,,, >click to read<15:02

California Crabbers Could Feel the Pain, State Reaches Tentative Agreement With Enviro Group Over Whale Entanglement

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity have tentatively agreed to settle an ongoing lawsuit, which claims that the state’s lack of action in preventing whales from becoming entangled in commercial crabbing lines violates the Endangered Species Act.,,, The Center for Biological Diversity filed the suit in 2017 after a record number of entangled whales were observed off the coast of the Western United States between 2014 and 2016. >click to read<08:55

California could be held liable for whale entanglements

The Center for Biological Diversity is hopeful its lawsuit filed over whale and sea turtle entanglements is nearing its conclusion after a federal judge suggested she may find the California Department of Fish and Wildlife liable for the entanglements, a center spokesman said.,,, The two parties have until March 13 to work out their differences and report back to the judge. If no settlement is reached, the judge will issue a finding. >click to read<12:17

Conservation groups threaten lawsuit against Trump administration over salmon fishing

Two conservation groups say the federal government is violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to consider how salmon fishing off the West Coast is affecting endangered killer whales. The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity and the Washington state-based Wild Fish Conservancy on Tuesday notified President Donald Trump’s administration that they intend to file a lawsuit within 60 days unless officials reevaluate whether the fishing further jeopardizes orcas that frequent the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest. Video, >click to read<15:39

Crab fishermen and environmentalists square off over whale entanglements

The issue has pitted two local interest groups against each other: Those who depend on the $68 million California Dungeness crab fishery for their livelihood, and those who advocate shutting down areas to crabbing to protect humpback whales and other endangered species. Caught in between are everyday shoppers who love having Dungeness crab on their tables, but probably wouldn’t want marine mammals hurt in the process. “I’m frankly very scared of what the upcoming season could mean for whales,” said Kristen Monsell, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, an Oakland environmental group that sued the state over the issue last year. The case is due to go before a judge in February. >click to read<13:23

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