Tag Archives: marine-mammal-protection-act

Marine Mammal Protection Act: Incidental Harassment Authorization Regulatory “Takes” – Take a Close Look

An IHA is a legal and enforceable document presenting the terms and conditions with which a company must adhere in order to protect wildlife. In this case, the draft IHA was for Vineyard Wind, the wind energy company ready to start construction on an 800 MW offshore wind farm in the Atlantic, covering about 675 square kilometers, starting 14 miles from the coastline of Martha’s Vineyard.,,, An IHA is required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) because, obviously, a huge project like this has impacts and it’s likely that “take” of marine mammals will occur during construction. >click to read< 08:26

NOAA Seeks Nominations for Scientific Review Groups under the Marine Mammal Protection Act

NOAA Fisheries will publish a Federal Register Notice on Monday, August 19, 2019, soliciting nominations to three independent marine mammal scientific review groups (SRG). We would like your assistance to identify qualified candidates. The three independent regional SRGs, covering Alaska, the Atlantic (including the Gulf of Mexico), and the Pacific (including Hawaii), were established under section 117(d) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act to provide advice on a range of marine mammal science and management issues. >click to read< 16:27

With billions at stake, Canada to show U.S. its fisheries protect whales

In an effort to maintain access to the lucrative U.S. seafood market, Canada will submit a “progress report” to Washington outlining steps to protect whales and other marine mammals that interact with more than 200 Canadian fisheries. The submission will be the first test of Canada’s ability to meet upcoming requirements in the United States Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and comes as three critically endangered North Atlantic right whales are believed entangled in fishing gear in Canadian waters. Efforts to free them are set for Tuesday, a day after Canada announced additional measures to protect North Atlantic right whales. >click to read<08:37

Cape Cod Is In CRISIS!

Because of our menacing great white shark and the seal overpopulation dilemma, Cape Cod is in the middle of an ecological, public safety, and economic crisis. The exploding seal population is a consequence of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). This legislation caused the rapidly growing seal overpopulation, and their attraction of great white sharks which feed upon them, and ferociously attack humans. We once had a thriving fishing industry, kept healthy in part by a bounty system of predator control. That ended in 1972 with the passage of the MMPA,,, >click to read<11:27

Virtual Interview with “Acoustic Dome” Team – would repel seals with sound waves, hopefully sharks would follow…

Concern is growing in the tourism industry that the party might be over for Cape Cod beaches if the local seal population – and thus the shark population – continues to grow. A growing population of seals – the sharks’ primary food source – appears to be drawing ever more sharks into our waters. Earlier this year an “acoustic dome” concept was floated by two Cape Cod men.,,,The gray seals are the “problem” and the solution. Few are quick to realize that the great white sharks are simply a symptom. Prior to the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) in 1972 the siting of a gray seal in Cape Cod waters was a rare event. (now an estimated 50,000 in Cape waters.) >click to read<08:55

NOAA Team Reaches Consensus on Right Whale Survival Measures

“This is hard work. The Team members brought not only their expertise but also their passion for the people and communities they represent to the table. Everyone understands that there are real and difficult consequences to fishermen as a result of the choices made in this room,” said Sam Rauch, NOAA Fisheries deputy assistant administrator for regulatory programs.,,, The group will meet in Providence, Rhode Island for four days. At the end of the meeting, they hope to agree on a suite of measures that will reduce right whale serious injuries and deaths in fishing gear in U.S. waters from Maine to Florida to less than one whale per year, the level prescribed by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. >click to read<09:15

Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team to Focus on Right Whale Survival This Week

On April 23, a group of approximately 60 fishermen, scientists, conservationists, and state and federal officials will come together to discuss ways to further reduce serious injury and mortality of endangered North Atlantic right whales caused by trap/pot fishing gear. The group will meet in Providence, Rhode Island for four days. At the end of the meeting, they hope to agree on a suite of measures that will reduce right whale serious injuries and deaths in fishing gear in U.S. waters from Maine to Florida to less than one whale per year, the level prescribed by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. >click to read<10:01

Congress passes bill that will allow killing of sea lions to help salmon

Congress has agreed to make it easier to kill sea lions threatening fragile runs of salmon in the Northwest. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that a bill approved by the House Tuesday changes the Marine Mammal Protection Act to lift some of the restrictions on killing sea lions to protect salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries. The measure had previously passed the Senate. Wildlife managers say sea lion populations have grown so large that they no longer need all the protections that were put in place for them in 1972. >click to read<10:14

Senate Bill 3119 – Senate passes bill making it easier to kill sea lions

A bill that would make it easier to kill sea lions that feast on imperiled salmon in the Columbia River has cleared the U.S. Senate. State wildlife managers say rebounding numbers of sea lions are eating more salmon than ever and their appetites are undermining billions of dollars of investments to restore endangered fish runs. Senate Bill 3119, which passed Thursday by unanimous consent, would streamline the process for Washington, Idaho, Oregon and several Pacific Northwest Native American tribes to capture and euthanize potentially hundreds of sea lions found in the river east of Portland, Oregon. >click to read<09:17

Fisheries minister meets with stakeholders to discuss right whale protections

The federal fisheries minister met with fishermen, industry representatives and marine scientists Tuesday to discuss the impact of restrictions put in place to protect North Atlantic right whales and whether they may be needed for the coming fishing seasons. Jonathan Wilkinson sat down with dozens of stakeholders at a hotel in Dartmouth, N.S., to discuss measures introduced earlier this year that were aimed at shielding the marine mammals against fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes — their greatest threats. >click to read<13:31

Cape Cod: Expert says sharks, seals here to stay

Last year, George Burgess predicted that a fatal shark attack would occur on Cape Cod within five years. “It’s the combination of a large predator, and the things they eat, both gaining in population size and both coming back to lay claim to areas that historically were theirs 150 years ago,” Burgess, now retired after 40 years as a shark researcher and curator, was on the Cape last week to gather information for the shark attack file on the region’s two shark attacks this summer, including one that resulted in the death of 26-year-old boogie boarder Arthur Medici. Burgess stressed his concern over the loss of life and his sympathy for the victim and his family, but said the Cape has now turned a corner,,, >click to read<11:09

Law protecting seals needs to change as population grows

John Dowd is correct that we have a “booming seal population,” but he’s wrong on two other counts (“Still swimming with sharks,” Metro, Sept. 13). First, he says that Nantucket has no seal or shark problem. On the contrary, one of the Northeast’s most celebrated fishing destinations, Nantucket’s Great Point, is now effectively a seal refuge, and the small island of Muskeget, just to the west of Nantucket, has been called one of the largest gray seal breeding sites in the country. More important, the first step to managing an ever-expanding seal population, and the white sharks it attracts, is not, as Dowd does, to call for a seal cull, which is a political nonstarter, but rather to pass an amendment to the Marine Mammal Protection Act,,, and a short rebuttal. >click to read<16:33

A Provincetown fisherman’s appraisal of the great white dilemma

It finally happened: two worlds collided. The great white shark world collided with the human world and the result was a man being bitten at Longnook Beach. We’re thankful he was saved and is recovering. But how did we get here? It started in 1972 with the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which prohibits hunting or harassing marine mammals, including seals. Before this law fishing communities hunted seals for their pelts and to manage the herd, because they eat enough fish to threaten the livelihoods of commercial fishermen. There were actually payments made by fishing towns to anyone who brought in a seal nose. The threat to commercial fishing was seen as very real. With the 1972 law, the hunt was stopped and seals began reproducing at a far greater rate than was expected. >click to read<11:55

The fisherman and the government observer – Tuna by the ton: two tales of fishing

Tom Crivello is a tuna boat captain and owner of two large seiners, both of which carry helicopters that are used in hunting for tuna. Crivello’s two boats are the Rose Ann Marie, which is 220 feet long with a capacity of 1050 tons of fish, and the Marla Marie, which is 151 feet long and holds about 500 tons. They are both registered in the U.S. and are based in San Diego, along with about 125 other boats from the American tuna fleet of nearly 140 boats. About a year ago, after fishing for twenty-one years — since the age of sixteen — Crivello decided to retire and try to sell the Rose Ann Marie, which is valued at about five million dollars. He was feeling the effects of relentless pressure and he was determined to do something about it while he still was capable. Others had reached the limit, pressed on, and ended up with drinking problems or even nervous breakdowns. >click to read< 8 pages from May 13, 1982 18:35

Seals were once nearly wiped out from the Gulf of Maine.

At any given time, approximately 600 seals splash, bathe and feed around a modest mass of rocks six miles off the coast of Maine, the northernmost of the Isles of Shoals. These seals, both gray and harbor species, have made a resurgence in local waters over the last two decades following the imperative enaction of federal protections. Prior to the 1970s, the species had essentially been extirpated in Maine and Massachusetts, after being hunted for their pelts, and killed as competition for fish, said Jennifer Seavey, executive director of Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island, a joint program between the University of New Hampshire and Cornell University. >click to read<09:38

Optimism scarce as commercial fisheries start up in Southeast

Activity is picking up in the harbors in Petersburg this week as fishing boats and tenders prepare for the start of several commercial fishing seasons, but optimism is a little scarce on the docks. Fishermen this summer are feeling the impacts of reduced catches, low forecasts and increasing competition from marine mammals. In South Harbor, Charlie Christensen is readying the Erika Ann for some tendering work in the early summer. Then he’ll switch over to seining once pink salmon start coming in. He has a long list of bad news for his fishing season, stretching back to management decisions by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for golden or brown king crab. He also points to whale predation on black cod,,, >click to read< 17:22

Sea lions continue to eat endangered fish

All the time, money and sacrifice to improve salmon and steelhead passage in the Willamette River won’t mean a thing unless wildlife managers can get rid of sea lions feasting on the fish at Willamette Falls. That was the message Tuesday from Shaun Clements, senior policy adviser for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who met at the falls with Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, and Suzanne Kunse, district director for U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. >click to read<17:51

A thousand days later, why is NOAA still dithering on allowing seismic surveys?

It has been more than a thousand days since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries accepted as “final and complete” the Incidental Harassment Authorization, or IHA, applications needed to take seismic surveys off the Atlantic Coast. Considering that the Marine Mammal Protection Act, or MMPA, requires agencies to issue decisions within 120 days after deeming IHA applications complete, this delay is a shocking policy failure. (This is an oil industry article, with a link to NMFS AA Chris Oliver’s testimony.) >click to read<15:50

Fisheries minister stands firm on disputed whale closures after meeting lobster industry

Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc is standing firm on the new rules imposed on the lobster industry that were designed to protect endangered whales but left fishermen in shock and frustration. This year’s lobster-fishing plan for the Gulf of St. Lawrence region, introduced Tuesday, included many of the same protection measures announced in March for the snow crab industry, including controversial “no-fishing” zones.,, “Those right whales, make no mistake about it, are heading north,” he said. “If there were 90 identified by American surveillance, those right whales will be coming into Canadian waters in the days and coming weeks.” <click to read<18:21

P.E.I. fisheries minister, opposition concerned over new fishing rule    >click to read<

Fisheries minister meets with lobster industry today about disputed closures

Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc is in Moncton on Friday to meet with the lobster industry, after new rules introduced this week to protect endangered whales left fishermen in a state of shock and frustration.,, He suggested the measures were necessary to avoid a punitive response from the U.S. and to protect the lobster industry. “Under American law, if a country does not take every reasonable and possible step to protect these highly endangered marine mammals, the American government can decide, under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of the United States, that the remedy is to close the American border to imports of fish and seafood from that country, which would have a devastating effect.”>click to read<12:10

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife – Relocation of sea lions not enough to protect Willamette fish runs

Over 25 California sea lions and an unknown number of Steller sea lions continue to prey on salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and lamprey in the Willamette River this month. In the absence of federal approval to lethally remove the California sea lions at Willamette Falls, ODFW attempted a stop gap program of capturing and relocating sea lions this spring. “It’s our responsibility and mandate from the people of Oregon to ensure these fish runs continue,” said Dr. Shaun Clements, ODFW’s senior policy advisor. “So it’s incredibly frustrating to us that federal laws prevent us from taking the only steps effective at protecting these fish from predation.”  >click to read<13:49

Harvesters charged with killing Stellar sea lions

A commercial fisherman and his deckhand have been charged with harassing and killing 15 Steller sea lions found dead during the opening of the 2015 Copper River salmon fishery. Jon Nichols, 31, of Cordova, captain of the F/V Iron Hide, and deckhand Theodore “Teddy” Turgeon, 21, of Wasilla, are charged with harassing and killing the Steller sea lions with shotguns and then making false statements and obstructing the government’s investigation into their criminal activities, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Anchorage said April 19. >click to read<09:14

More seals, sea lions endangering orcas

Re: “Ottawa spending millions to help endangered orcas” and “Washington state moves to protect endangered southern residents,” March 16. These articles failed to address a couple of noteworthy things regarding prey availability for resident orcas, more resources for local salmon enhancement being one of them. The southern resident orcas are facing increased competition for salmon in large part due to the increase in harbour seal and California sea lion populations since the enactment of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972. >click to read<17:00

Sea otter resolution gets first hearing in Senate committee, asking Congress to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act

A Senate committee Monday, March 12 heard from supporters and opponents of state involvement in the management of sea otters in Southeast Alaska. The Senate Resources committee held its first hearing on Senate joint resolution 13, which calls on the federal government to allow the state or a Native organization to co-manage the rebounding marine mammals and seek ways to increase harvest of otters. >click to read< 14:53

State seeks federal exemption to manage sea otters – The Legislature is considering two resolutions, one in the House and one in the Senate, asking Congress to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act and,,, >click to read<

Petersburg assembly joins call for increased sea otter harvest

Petersburg Borough Assembly joined the call this month for measures to slow a growing population of sea otters in Southeast, as the marine mammals are impacting shellfish stocks. The Assembly passed a resolution at its March 5 meeting, calling for the federal government to work with the State of Alaska and Alaska Native tribes to establish strategies for an ecological balance of shellfish resources and the reintroduced sea otters. >click to read<08:23

Gear is in wrong place for right whales, scientists say

Speaking at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum on Friday,,, The NOAA Fisheries Large Whale Take Reduction Team recently established separate working groups to study two proposals to reduce the risk of entanglement: splicing several 1,700-pound breaking strength “weak link” sleeves into vertical lines such as those that connect lobster buoys to traps; and removing those ropes altogether by requiring the use “ropeless” fishing gear. Those working groups will focus on whether either solution is technologically feasible, whether it will actually work for fishermen, and whether it can be cost effective for fishermen.,, >click to read<10:32

Stedman sponsors resolution to control sea otter growth

A Senate resolution seeking an increase in the number of sea otters hunted in Southeast Alaska is making its way through the legislative process. Sitka Republican Sen. Bert Stedman said the Senate Joint Resolution 13 is a way for the state to ask the federal government to do something about Southeast’s increasing otter population. “I think this is a good starting point for the conversation,” he said. “We live a different lifestyle up here, and we want to preserve it and keep it in balance. And having the sea otters virtually run unchecked,,, >click to read<19:30

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 

A quarter million?! California sea lion population has tripled, new study finds

The West Coast’s population of California sea lions — the playful marine animals that delight tourists on the Santa Cruz waterfront and San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf while competing with salmon fishermen for valuable catches — has tripled in the past 40 years to more than 250,000.,,, But California sea lions — which range from Mexico to Alaska — have exploded the most in number, jumping from an estimated 88,924 in 1975 to 257,606 in 2014, according to the new NOAA study. But all the sea lions have caused problems. >click here to read<11:33