Tag Archives: marine-mammal-protection-act

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

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

Oregon, Washington and tribes again take aim at sea lions in dispute over salmon

Congress is once again considering giving Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife officials and regional tribes broader authority to kill sea lions below the Bonneville Dam, an effort supporters say is necessary to protect 13 endangered species of salmon and steelhead. But unlike previous attempts to rein in the marine mammals, which are protected under federal law, the legislation goes beyond killing the dozens that converge each spring on the fish logjam at the Columbia River dam 145 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The bipartisan team behind the bill — Reps. Jaime Herrera-Beutler, R-Washington, and Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon — want to go much further. They also want to make it easier to kill California sea lions found on the Willamette River and its tributaries, and anywhere on the Columbia River east of Interstate 205. If the legislation is approved, as many as 920 sea lions could be killed annually, compared with 92 under current law. click here to read the story 08:54

Maine man gets three days in jail for shooting seal

A Warren man pleaded guilty on Monday to shooting a seal off the coast of Acadia National Park last fall, according to federal prosecutors. Joseph A. Martin, 54, was sentenced to serve three days behind bars and was ordered by federal Magistrate Judge John C. Nivison to pay a $1,000 fine for shooting the animal, which is protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. Martin was acting as captain of a fishing boat on Oct. 10, 2016 when multiple seals approached the vessel, federal officials said Monday in a news release. Martin was fishing off the coast of Acadia National Park, which stretches from Schoodic Point to Isle Au Haut, officials said. click here to read the story 20:49

Gray seals are making a huge comeback on Cape Cod (where there are no longer any Cod!)

For nearly a hundred years, New England’s gray seals had a bounty on their heads. Maine and Massachusetts paid people to kill them, because they depleted fishing stocks. They were also hunted for their meat and pelts. By 1973—a year after the Marine Mammal Protection Act made it illegal to systematically kill the animals—a census estimated there were only 30 gray seals left along the entire coast of Maine. Since then, Canada’s gray seals have returned to recolonize the east coast of the U.S.,,, Now, in a study published in Bioscience, researchers have combined Google Earth images and data from tagged seals to make a more precise estimation of the population.,, “Our technology-aided aerial survey, which used Google Earth imagery in conjunction with telemetry data from tagged animals, suggests the number is much larger—between 30,000 and 50,000.” Not everyone is happy with the pinniped’s population explosion—particularly fisherman, who see them as competition for fish stocks.  In recent years, some groups have advocated for culling the number of gray seals. Johnston says that not only would that be illegal, but it would also be premature. “We know almost nothing about what gray seals eat, how and where they forage,,, click here to read the story 10:48

The “Redheaded Stepchild of Fishing” – Controversial drift-gill net fishery wins long-fought battle

Federal fishery managers denied a proposal this week to immediately shut down Southern California’s most controversial fishery in the event that wide-mesh gill nets accidentally kill a handful of certain marine mammals or sea turtle species. The swordfish and thresher shark fishery will remain open, even if it kills several whales or sea turtles, the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries decided. The decision not to institute so-called hard caps on the fishery comes after a public review period initiated last year was extended to discuss the law proposed by the state’s Pacific Fishery Management Council in 2014. For the few dozen fishers who still catch swordfish and thresher sharks off Southern California in deep-water drift gill nets, the decision brought a big sigh of relief.  click here to read the story 08:38

Bi-Partisan Bill seeks to allow tribes to kill Columbia River sea lions

Some Northwest Indian tribes would be allowed to kill a limited number of sea lions that prey on endangered salmon in the Columbia River under a bill introduced in Congress. The bipartisan bill was introduced last weekend by U.S. House members Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Washington Republican, and Kurt Schrader, an Oregon Democrat. If passed, the bill would allow the Warm Springs, Umatilla, Yakama, and Nez Perce tribes to kill some sea lions that are decimating endangered salmon runs during their return from the ocean to inland spawning grounds. Currently only the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho can kill sea lions along the river. “The spring chinook loss, coupled with the growing sea lion population, has placed us in an emergency situation,” said Leland Bill, chairman of the commission. Sea lion populations have surged since the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972. There were about 30,000 California sea lions when the act passed, but the population has since grown to over 300,000. click here to read the article 12:22

Video shows man attacking Hawaiian monk seal, culture expert mentions commercial fishermen?

One of Kauai’s most popular Hawaiian monk seals was attacked on Tuesday night at Salt Pond Beach Park, and a video recording of the scuffle is circulating on social media. The footage shows an unidentified man enter the water at Salt Pond at sunset and attack RK30, a full-grown female monk seal, in what appears to be an attempt to chase the her from her resting place on the beach. Kumu Sabra Kauka, who teaches Hawaiian culture through education around the island, said she was disturbed when she saw the video. “That kind of behavior is uncalled for and is inexcusable,” she said. “Being high or drunk is no excuse. She said sometimes this kind of aggression toward the Hawaiian Monk Seals stems from the commercial fishing community and the mindset that the seals are stealing the fish from their nets. Read the article here Watch the video here 13:03

Cape Cod seals return in masses on video: Great whites and fishermen woes follow

Before 1972 you were lucky to see a single seal in the waters or on the beaches of the Cape. Then when the Marine Mammal Protection Act went into effect, the hunting abruptly stopped and they were able to grow in number and that brings it up to the masses of seals being spotted today! They inhabited the beaches in masses until they were almost hunted to extinction along the Cape’s waters decades ago. Now that they are a protected species, their numbers are up, too far up for some folks who live and work on the Cape and surrounding areas. The fishermen who utilize these waters for their livelihood say that the seals are eating all the fish. The seals do eat a lot of fish. An 800-pound male seal “could consume up to six percent of his body weight each day. That’s 50 pounds of fish, including valuable species like cod and flounder.” With the seal population numbering in the thousands, you don’t have to do the math to see these summer residents are competition for the fishermen. Video, read the story here 10:56

Court case highlights conflict between fishermen and marine mammals

keep-calm-and-listen-to-your-lawyerA Cape May County tuna fisherman is fighting federal charges of shooting a pilot whale that was feeding on his boat’s catch. Daniel Archibald denies the charges filed against him in U.S. District Court. But his lawyer, Bill Hughes Jr., said in court papers that even if Archibald shot the animal, he wasn’t breaking any laws. The unusual case highlights the often contentious relationship between fishermen and the seals, whales and dolphins that steal their catch. And it points to the murky laws that give fishermen, marine contractors, researchers and others permission,,, Read the rest here 14:15

NOAA recognizes Predator/Prey Relationship of exploding populations of Marine Mammal Populations and fish!

NOAA ScientistThe study by scientists from NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center and the University of Washington examines recovering predator populations along the West Coast of the United States and in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, and the conflicts surrounding them. The study was published today in the journal Conservation Letters. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, California sea lions that have increased under the Marine Mammal Protection Act have increasingly preyed on endangered salmon.,, Read the rest here 16:01

Congress Proposes Relaxing Sea Lion Protections

The Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, a proposed amendment to the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, could soon give tribal members and government fishery managers in the Columbia River Basin authority to kill sea lions threatening endangered salmon populations. U.S. Reps Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) introduced the amendment on January 27. Read the rest here 08:41

Stranded sea lions overwhelm California rescue centers

People in Marina del Rey, Calif., were surprised when a sea lion pup wandered into their apartment complex. But getting help for Walter when he was spotted last week wasn’t easy. Nearly 1,000 have washed ashore so far this year. The warmer water could have affected the availability of prey to the sea lions. Another possibility is “the sea lion population is reaching carrying capacity. Read the rest here 18:41

Voracious protected seals starting to overrun waters off New England

seals eat cod 5But what is the cost? Nils Stolpe, a Florida-based fishing industry journalist and advocate, calculated that since each seal consumed 5 percent of its body weight each day in squid, mollusks, crustaceans, and a variety of fish including rockfish, herring, flounder, salmon, hake, and lance, and don’t forget cod, it amounts to q a quarter million pounds daily. Annually he added it up to 450,000 million pounds, about 200,000 metric tons. Read the rest here 07:07 Read Dogfish and seals and dolphin, oh my! by Nils Stolpe here

Murkowski roundly criticizes NOAA proposed ringed seal habitat

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to designate much of Alaska’s northern coastline as critical habitat for ringed seals have led the state’s senior U.S. senator to blast the proposal’s “Texas-sized” area. NOAA Out of Control, “NOAA’s justification admits several non-scientific reasons motivated its decision, Read the rest here 20:47

Federal double standard on endangered species laws?

The federal government is not shy about prosecuting those who violate threatened and endangered species laws. But under a new Obama administration policy, wind farm operators are getting 30-year permits to kill protected species. Read more here 11:48

Alaska joins Hawaii to have central North Pacific humpbacks struck from endangered list

The state of Alaska is asking the federal government to remove Endangered Species Act protections for the humpback whales that swim between Alaska and Hawaii, spending months each year off Alaska’s Arctic Coast, a prospective oil-rich region. Read more here  09:46

Alabama man admits shooting dolphin in Mississippi Sound

GULFPORT — A commercial boat captain from Bayou La Batre, Ala., has pleaded guilty to shooting a dolphin with a shotgun in the Mississippi Sound in the summer of 2012. Brent Buchanan faces maximum penalties of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine at his sentencing on Feb. 24. [email protected]  09:55

National Marine Fisheries Service New Navy whale rules under scrutiny – NRDC: Feds Give Navy Green Light to Kill Whales and Dolphins

nmfs_logo“In a Bizzaro-World move, with these rules the agency charged with protecting whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals gives its stamp of approval to Navy training and testing activities that will harm millions of marine mammals, killing many,” the Natural Resources Defense Council stated in a blog post. [email protected]  21:57 Feds Give Navy Green Light to Kill Whales and Dolphins NRDC link

Down to Earth: Seals, sharks and sustainability

From the late 1800s through the 1960s, Maine and Massachusetts had a bounty on  seals to keep the fishing grounds seal-free. They were hunted until there were  virtually no seals in the waters off of Massachusetts. In 1972, the Marine  Mammal Protection Act was passed to help bring back the populations of several  sea mammals. @ojournal

PLF challenges bureaucrats’ decision to ignore Congress, let sea otters decimate Southern California fisheries

plfWe represent four organizations that rely on the health of SoCal fisheries—the California Sea Urchin Commission, California Abalone Association, California Lobster and Trap Fishermen’s Association, and the Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara. The otter threatens the ability of these fisherman to put food on their table, literally. And the effects will ripple because of the many local businesses that are related to fishing. [email protected]

Shellfish Industry Lobs Bomb at Sea Otters @courthousenews

Lawsuit challenges sea otter boundary change @the heraldnews

IAGC Comments on Settlement Filed in Gulf of Mexico Seismic Survey Litigation

We are pleased that the parties to this litigation have come together and proposed a settlement to the Court,” said Chip Gill, President of IAGC.  “NRDC and other environmental organizations have speculated that marine seismic surveys harm whales and dolphins, but the science and four decades of experience show that we do not,” continued Gill. As NOAA Fisheries, the agency charged by Congress to administer the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and which is the US authority on the science behind these matters, states in a public filing last year regarding a permit for a seismic survey, “To date, there is no evidence that serious injury, death or stranding by marine mammals can occur from exposure to airgun pulses, even in the case of large airgun arrays.2[email protected]

Marine Mammal Protection Act Gone Wild. The Unregulated Fishing Community

Ad hoc committee wrestles with otters – audio

A committee of fishermen and other Petersburg residents is wrestling with what to do about the impact of a growing sea otter population on Southeast’s commercial crab and dive fisheries. The Borough Assembly appointed the ad hoc committee this month after choosing not to endorse proposed legislation that would put a bounty on the animals. The Committee had a wide-ranging discussion during its first meeting Friday. Matt Lichtenstein has more: continued

Sea mammals find US safe harbor – “We have seen remarkable recoveries” “There isn’t enough research,”

n 1972, a U.S. Senate committee reported, “Many of the great whales which once populated the oceans have now dwindled to the edge of extinction,” due to commercial hunting. In October of that year, Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Four decades later, new research shows that the law is working. Yeah?  Some marine mammals, like endangered right whales, continue to be in deep trouble, but other populations “particularly seals and sea lions, have recovered to or near their carrying capacity,” the scientists write. continued

NILS STOLPE: The New England groundfish debacle (Part IV): Is cutting back harvest really the answer?

The “blame it all on fishing” management philosophy “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” (A. Maslow, 1966, The Psychology of Science)

NILS STOLPE Fishnet USA – While it’s a fact that’s hardly ever acknowledged, the assumption in fisheries management is that if the population of a stock of fish isn’t at some arbitrary level, it’s because of too much fishing. Hence the term “overfished.” Hence the mandated knee jerk reaction of the fisheries managers to not enough fish; cut back on fishing. What of other factors? They don’t count. It’s all about fishing, because fishing is all that the managers can control; it’s their Maslow’s Hammer. When it comes to the oceans it seems as if it’s about all that the industry connected mega-foundations that support the anti-fishing ENGOs with hundreds of millions of dollars a year in “donations” are interested in controlling. Read the article here

Alaska state senator proposes bounty on sea otters

Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, sees the furry-faced critters as a growing threat to shellfish beds, particularly in southeast Alaska, where he is from. On Wednesday, he introduced legislation that would have the state pay $100 for each sea otter lawfully killed under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. “We’re not talking eradication. We’re talking slowing the population growth,” he said. “In my opinion, we’re not going to get any help from the federal government.” Read more

Reminder — Gillnet Bycatch Workshop in Ocean City, Maryland — on January 22 and 23 — You can join via webinar!

NOAA Fisheries (NMFS) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are hosting a workshop  to discuss protected species bycatch in mid-Atlantic gillnet fisheries. While gillnet fisheries interact with several species protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act  and the Endangered Species Act, this workshop will focus specifically on sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon. The objective of the workshop is to generate ideas for technological solutions through a collaborative process that involves the fishing industry, conservation community, species experts/researchers, managers, and other interested parties.
 Those unable to attend the workshop in person will be able to listen to the discussions via webinar.
 Click here to view the agenda
 For more information, contact Ellen Keane at [email protected]
 This Webinar is held on the following dates:
Jan 22, 2013 12:30 PM – 6:00 PM EST
Jan 23, 2013 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM EST
Register Now at: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/127363126

A Rising Tide of Noise Is Now Easy to See – new york times

“What quiet, what silence, what peace!” Captain Nemo  That was 1870. Today — to the dismay of whale lovers and friends of marine mammals, if not divers and submarine captains — the ocean depths have become a noisy place. The causes are human: the sonar blasts of military exercises, the booms from air guns used in oil and gas exploration, and the whine from fleets of commercial ships that relentlessly crisscross the global seas. Nature has its own undersea noises. But the new ones are loud and ubiquitous. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/science/project-seeks-to-map-and-reduce-ocean-noise-pollution.html?ref=science

Southeast Alaska Seiners Struggling With Salmon Observer Program

Commercial harvesters in the Southeast Alaska salmon drift gillnet fishery, mandated for observation under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, say changes are needed in the program because it’s disrupting their fishery. “It’s just a colossal waste of money,” said B.J. King, a veteran commercial fisherman from Kent, Washington. “They’re not telling us what they’re really after. “I was observed twice this year, and it wasn’t a very pleasant experience,” he said. http://fnonlinenews.blogspot.com/2012/11/southeast-alaska-seiners-struggling.html