Tag Archives: marine-mammal-protection-act

Fishery interests urge judge to rule in lobster lawsuit

Parties in a lobster industry lawsuit filed against federal regulators are urging a judge to make a decision in the case because its outcome affects a parallel case that the parties have to act on. The federal judge considering this decision was the same who ruled last month that new regulations to protect endangered right whales do not go far enough and violate both the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act. In that case, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg asked the parties to propose remedies. The lobster association’s case takes aim at newly enacted and proposed federal regulations to protect the whales, which the association says are invalid because they are based on flawed assumptions and calculations. The parties need to know the court’s opinion so they can develop proposed remedies that Boasberg ordered in the parallel lawsuit brought by conservation groups.  >click to read< 17:01

N.L. MP vows he’s ‘gonna keep pushing’ forward on seal management legislation

Clifford Small may have lost a battle in his bid to convince the House of Commons of the need for legislation to manage seal populations, but the Newfoundland and Labrador Conservative MP says he’s not about to give up the fight. Small’s private members’ bill, Act for the Conservation of Fish Stocks and Management of Pinnipeds (seals), or Bill C-251, died when it came to the House for second reading on June 15. There’s more than one way to move a bill through the parliamentary process, said Small. Bills can start in the House or they can be introduced through the Senate, he said, indicating that’s the path he may pursue next. >click to read< 14:20

North Atlantic Right Whale: Oceana Wins First Step In USMCA Complaint

The Secretariat for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, part of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), has agreed to move forward with the first step in a two-step process to investigate the USA’s failure to uphold its environmental laws to protect North Atlantic right whales, according to an Oceana announcement this week. The decision was in response to Oceana’s filing the first-ever “Submission on Enforcement Matters” against the US government under the USMCA last October. The ocean advocacy organization claimed the government has violated the USMCA by failing to enforce environmental laws to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, of which only around 330 remain. >click to read< 14:53

Golden asks for more lobstermen on panel

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02) called on the National Marine Fisheries Services March 16 to expand representation of lobstermen on its Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team by including members of Maine Lobstering Union Local 207. The Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team is charged with making recommendations to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for addressing rising North Atlantic right whale mortalities. Only four of the members of the 60-person team are Maine lobstermen. >click to read< 17:46

Maine lobster industry fights lawsuit that aims to shut down fishery

While Maine’s lobster industry has been fighting an offensive legal battle against impending rules to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, it also is playing defense in a case brought by environmentalists that seeks to shut down the lobster fishery entirely. Lobster industry groups are intervening in a case brought in Washington, D.C.’s U.S. District Court by the Center for Biological Diversity and other plaintiffs that argues the new federal restrictions aren’t adequate, and that the fishery’s continued operation poses an existential threat to the whales. >click to read< 19:15

North Atlantic Right Whale: Extinction Is Looming. Everyone’s Fighting.

This May, new rules created for the lobster industry by the National Marine Fisheries Service will become official policy for boats operating in right whale territory. The agency estimates that lobster and Jonah crab traps are responsible for 95 percent of vertical end-line ropes in the areas where whale protections apply and therefore pose the most risk for entangling whales. The Fisheries Service says these changes will reduce the risk of death and serious injury by 69 percent. But in the months after the rules were finalized, the agency has seen pushback from conservation groups, who argue the new protections aren’t enough, and lobster fishing crews, who say the rules will harm their business. >click to read< 14:22

What Is the Marine Mammal Protection Act?

The Marine Mammal Protection Act, or MMPA, is the U.S. federal law restricting human actions that affect marine mammals. The MMPA was signed into law in 1974 by President Richard Nixon, making it one of many environmental policies established by the Nixon administration. One of the most significant actions taken under the MMPA was the establishment of an “optimum sustainable yield” (OSY). Instead of the traditional single-species approach to marine mammal management, OSY focuses on the role of marine mammals in the health of an ecosystem. The ecosystem-based approach remains widely implemented across the fishery industry today. >click to read< 11:03

N.E. Aquarium Scientists urge NOAA to consider more aggressive Right Whale steps

In response to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Proposed Rule to amend the regulations implementing the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to reduce the incidental mortality and serious injury to North Atlantic right whales, fin whales, and humpback whales in northeast commercial lobster and crab trap/pot fisheries to meet the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, the New England Aquarium submits this comment to express our strong reservations that the measures outlined in the Proposed Rule and accompanying Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) are not nearly aggressive enough to change the fate of North Atlantic right whales in U.S. waters. Based on our decades of NARW expertise, the Aquarium strongly urges NOAA to revise this Proposed Rule substantially before finalizing it. >click to read< 07:07

Maine’s booming seal population concerns local fishermen, biologists. Cod predation isn’t mentioned

Biologists say there are three points to consider: While the increase in harbor seals is creating a healthier ecosystem for the Gulf of Maine, it’s also creating problems for local lobstermen who say they’re a threat to their livelihoods, and it’s drawing new and potentially dangerous fish into our waters at a rate the state has never seen before. “I’ve had guys call me and say, ‘Are you having a problem with bait bags being ripped out because of the seals?’ and I say, ‘Yeah. I’ve had five or six.’ he says, ‘Rusty, I just had twenty traps in a row right, in a row. The seals went bang bang, bang, bang, bang right down through and ripped all the bags out,'” Court said. >click to read< Bait bags? What about cod fish bellies?!!

DFO working to keep U.S. markets open to northern fisheries

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is working to ensure that fisheries in Nunavut and Nunavik will be able to export their products to markets in the United States after next year. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act’s import provisions rule will take effect. Four Greenland halibut (turbot), three Arctic char fisheries, and a shrimp fishery will all need to comply. “This rule ensures that the U.S. will only accept imports of fish and fish products originating from foreign countries that have enacted management measures to reduce marine mammal bycatch”,,, DFO submitted a progress report to NOAA and proposed that three Arctic char gillnet fisheries be exempt based on their location in river estuaries, short time in the water and shallow depth. NOAA rejected the request for an exemption. >click to read< 14:00

Herrera Beutler lauds NOAA decision on sea lion removal

NOAA announced Aug. 14 that a task force had endorsed implementing the Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act, legislation signed into law in 2018. The administration stated that the new law amends the Marine Mammal Protection Act, allowing for removal of sea lions in a stretch of the Columbia River and its tributaries intended to cut down on predation of salmon and steelhead. With NOAA’s approval of these permits, wildlife managers can now finally take action and implement the sea lion control measure that tribes, fishermen, scientists, conservationists and local leaders have been calling for to preserve our native fish runs,”  U.S. Rep Herrera Beutler >click to read< 10:46

Great white sharks not the only threat gray seals bring – Here’s Why.

Over the winter, gray seals have — thanks in large measure to the protection afforded by the Marine Mammal Protection Act — further augmented their numbers. The “gray seal buffet” is once again open for business. But this season is, of course, unlike any in recent times. For the Cape and Islands, the coronavirus poses a far greater threat to the safety of its beachgoers and well-being of its economy than white sharks. But those threats are not necessarily unrelated. Here’s why. The Marine Mammal Protection Act is distinctive in that it not only protects all marine mammals, it protects them in perpetuity, regardless of their numbers and impact on co-existing species, including humans. Let me hasten to acknowledge that the act was necessary and appropriate when it was passed almost 50 years ago and remains so in most respects. Because it protects marine mammals permanently, it in effect relies on nature to take its course in controlling marine mammal populations and finding an appropriate balance among competing and coexisting marine species. >click to read< 09:06

Yaquina Bay: California Sea Lion breeding season is heating up!

As their breeding season approaches, the mostly male sea lions of Yaquina Bay are growing hormonal and more aggressive as they prepare to head south for courtship. The pinnipeds that crowd the docks of Newport’s harbor are California sea lions. The typical adult male is close to 8 feet long and weighs between 700 pounds and a half ton, while adult females are usually 6 feet long and weigh less than half as much. The Steller sea lion is also found in the area but tends to stay away from harbors, favoring to haul out on sea rocks and buoys offshore.,,, The Marine Mammal Protection Act makes it illegal to hunt, capture, kill or harass sea lions, with limited exceptions for the deterrent hazing of individual nuisance animals. >click to read< 12:01

Ruling in whale case signals turmoil for lobster industry

It is too early to know exactly how the ruling in a lawsuit brought by a group of environmental organizations will affect the lobster industry. U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg asked those groups and NOAA to file briefs suggesting an appropriate “injunctive remedy” against further violations of the Endangered Species Act. Whatever that remedy may be, it is likely to come soon and have a significant impact on Maine lobstermen. During the past several months, Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher hosted a series of meetings along the coast with members of the lobster industry,, Throughout the process, Keliher warned that the pending federal lawsuit against NOAA was a “wild card” that could affect the regulatory process in undetermined ways. Last week, Keliher said that with the release of the court’s decision the wild card had been played. >click to read< 17:51

Scoping Hearing on Lobster/Gear Right Whale Entanglements

On Tuesday night there will be a scoping meeting from 6-8 PM at Mass Maritime Academy to receive public input on ways to alter the American lobster fishery regulations to reduce mortality of North Atlantic right whales by 60%. This is a followup to the August 21, 2019 NOAA Fisheries GARFO (Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office) public meeting in Bourne that sought input on the recommendations from the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team,, >click to read< 20:29

US elected officials discuss Canadian crab embargo

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, four elected officials from Maine stand up for their state’s lobster fishing industry. They argue that measures to protect the North Atlantic right whale imposed on American fishermen for several years have saved the species from extinction, but also increased its population. However, they add, the mortality of right whales “directly related” to commercial shipping and fishing activities in Canadian waters “continues to increase”. A total of 12 right whales died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017 and at least 9 in 2019, out of a population of around 400 individuals. >click to read<14:13

Des élus américains évoquent un embargo sur le crabe canadien>click to read<

Most likely Carnival Cruise Lines is responsible for 18+ Right Whale deaths in the past 3 year, at which rate they would soon be extinct.>click to read<

Canada imposing mandatory gear marking for lobster, and crab fisheries in 2020

Specially coloured rope will become mandatory with the start of the season in every lobster and crab fishery in Eastern Canada. The rope must identify the region, species being fished and individual fishing area. The requirement is also intended to maintain access to the United States seafood market by demonstrating Canada has rules comparable to those in place for American fishermen. >click to read< 07:20

Letter to the Editor: (and the rest of the world) Urging Action on Seal Population Control

The exploding seal population is a consequence of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, which allowed for the rapidly growing seal overpopulation. Seals attract 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 protection act, which not only lifted the bounties on fish-eating predators like seals, but placed them under perpetual protection, immune from mitigation. Now fully recovered, the seal population has grown beyond what any reasonable person would consider healthy. Ron Beaty >click to read< 07:15

“Human Dimension of Rebounding Population of Seals and White Sharks on Cape Cod.” Study targets public’s views about seals

“We want to bring different perspectives together to see what people value about Cape Cod, see what they understand about the marine ecosystem and the interactions within it,” said George Maynard, research coordinator at the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, one of the collaborating organizations. “Seals are one piece in an increasingly complicated environment.” Jennifer Jackman, a professor of political science at Salem State University, is leading the study, “Human Dimension of Rebounding Population of Seals and White Sharks on Cape Cod.” >click to read< 13:12

As the marine mammal takes a bite out of the fishing industry, A modest proposal for hunting sea otters

Phil Doherty doesn’t think sea otters are cute. Sure, he can see why tourists might get a kick out of watching the fuzzy critters reclining in waves with clams on their bellies, fixing to chow down. But to Doherty, co-director of the Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association and the commercial fisherman he represents, those cuddly otters are eating their bottom line. >click to read< 15:07

NOAA Argues to Allow Makah Tribe to Hunt Gray Whales off Washington Again

More than two decades ago, Makah tribal members killed a 30-foot gray whale in the waters off the Olympic Peninsula amid bitter protests from animal-welfare activists. The tribal hunt in May 1999 touched off a protracted legal battle that on Thursday took center stage inside a Seattle federal building. The proceedings over the tribe’s treaty right to hunt gray whales are expected to last more than a week in the courtroom-like setting. >click to read< 23:12

Solutions sought to ease conflicts over Southeast Alaska’s rising sea otter populations

A hundred years ago, the fur trade wiped out sea otters in Southeast Alaska. They were reintroduced in the 1960s with 412 animals brought from Amchitka Island and Prince William Sound. Since then, they’ve done really well. The last official estimate in 2012 shows that there are more than 25,000 of them. But their success has changed their environment as they’re a keystone species. “Many of those effects are really disruptive to the existing, you know, commercial activities like shell fisheries that have developed.” >click to read< 07:57

Lobstermen Question State Whale Plan at Waldoboro Meeting

Lobstermen expressed a mix of frustration and acceptance upon hearing the state’s new plan to protect North American right whales during a meeting in Waldoboro on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher presented the state’s proposed gear rules and fielded questions in the Medomak Middle School gymnasium. Photo’s >click to read< 09:55

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