Tag Archives: North Atlantic right whale

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

Mogul, wandering North Atlantic right whale, spotted off coast of France

A North Atlantic right whale that made headlines last year for his wanderlust in Iceland has decided to take a more southerly European vacation this year. Mogul, an 11-year-old male right whale, was spotted June 21 feeding off the coast of Penmarc’h, France, in the Bay of Biscay. It’s a curious spot for a young right whale to find himself, said Heather Pettis, associate scientist at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium. >click to read<12:47

Lobstermen confront host of problems as season gets underway

This year’s delayed lobster season kicked off with a cold, rainy spring and bait worries, but lobstermen haven’t been idle. Instead, they’ve been hunting for a way to cope with looming North Atlantic right whale protections. “The overall feeling around the docks this year is pretty glum,” said Jason Joyce of Swans Island. “Catch is low, expenses are high and (there are) stormy forecasts ahead thanks to wealthy, politically connected multinational environmental groups that have been targeting us as their latest fundraising villain.” >click to read< 09:22

Researchers regroup in wake of 4 right whale deaths

It’s been a deadly month for the endangered mammals, with the carcasses of two other whales — an adult female and a 9-year-old male — reported June 4 and June 20, also in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Photo analysis of the carcasses found Tuesday identified one as a 33-year-old male named Comet and the other as an unnamed 11-year-old female who had no documented calf, according to New England Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life. The two carcasses were seen near the Acadian Peninsula in New Brunswick and west of the Magdalen Islands in Quebec, according to Canadian officials.,,, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is taking part in preplanned talks with the Canadian government on North Atlantic right whale protections this week in Halifax, Nova Scotia, NOAA spokeswoman Jennifer Goebel said. >click to read<20:56

Our View: Lobster gear changes not yet warranted

A plan to drastically reduce the amount of fishing line in the waters off Maine has lobstermen up and down the coast worried about their future. It is pitting small inshore operators against those who haul in deeper waters. And there’s little evidence it will work. The plan is part of an effort by federal regulators to save the North Atlantic right whale,,,, The National Marine Fisheries Service estimates that fishing rope kills or seriously injures five to nine right whales a year,,, But none of the deaths has been tied conclusively to Maine lobster gear.  >click to read<09:20

“Wolverine” – Initial assessment did not reveal evidence of vessel strikes or fishing gear entanglement

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the death of a North Atlantic right whale in the Gulf of St. Lawrence does not appear to be the result of a recent vessel strike or entanglement in fishing gear. A necropsy was conducted Friday on the shores of Miscou Island in New Brunswick, and the government said the initial assessment was inconclusive. The nine-year-old male known as “Wolverine” was towed there after his carcass was discovered in the Gulf on Tuesday. >click to read<10:16

Keliher gives fishermen homework on whale rules

“Feel free to yell at me,” Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), told a packed gym at the Trenton Elementary School Tuesday. “But it’s the federal government that’s driving the bus here.” Keliher was in Trenton for the first in a series of meetings with lobstermen up and down the coast to discuss specific ways for the lobster fishery to meet targets established in April by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team (TRT), which works under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. >click to read<11:51

Dead right whale had survived ship strike, entanglements, is first death in Canadian waters in 2019

The dead north Atlantic right whale drifting off Quebec’s Gaspé coast had a history of entanglements and was struck by a ship, said officials with the New England Aquarium. The young whale was sighted Tuesday during an aerial surveillance flight by researchers from the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s first dead whale in Canadian waters in 2019.,,, On Wednesday, all efforts were deployed to locate the whale’s body, with planes flying over the Gulf of Saint Lawrence all day. >click to read<10:12

Mass. commercial fishermen decry offshore wind projects’ pace

If fully built out, the offshore wind farms would cover a 1,400-square-mile area larger than the Ocean State and would negatively impact marine life and fishing grounds, the group said. “Commercial fishing families, as stewards of the ocean, are concerned that a new industry is developing at a rapid pace without adequate science and risk management,” the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership stated in a release Wednesday. The fishermen’s group said Vineyard Wind is rushing the project to ensure it receives federal tax credits before they expire.,,, Wednesday’s statement from Massachusetts fishermen came as they try to reach an agreement with Vineyard Wind on a compensation package,>click to read<15:37

Daunting task begins: Reducing lobster gear to save whales

The interstate Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission met Monday outside Washington to discuss the implementation of the new rules, which are designed to reduce serious injuries and deaths among whales by 60 percent.,,, The interstate Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission met Monday outside Washington to discuss the implementation of the new rules,,,, Colleen Coogan, who coordinates the federal government team designed to protect the whales, said during the meeting that cooperating with Canadian authorities is also going to be very important. “We’ve set a pretty high bar,” Coogan said. “They’re going to have to show that their measures provide similar protections to right whales.” >click to read<08:58

North Atlantic Right Whale – New restrictions placed on New England fishing industry to protect whales

Fishermen across New England are facing new restrictions after a panel of experts convened by the federal government agreed on Friday to a plan to step up protection of the endangered North Atlantic right whale. The group of federal and state officials, scientists, fishermen and environmental advocates created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration capped a four-day meeting in Providence by reaching consensus on a plan that aims to reduce entanglements in fishing gear, which is the leading cause of injuries to the whale and deaths. >click to read<18:20

New England Stakeholders Agree On Recommendations For Reducing Risk Of Right Whale Entanglements – >click to read<11:16

Regulators unveil new tool designed to help reduce right whale entanglements

Federal fisheries regulators demonstrated a new risk-assessment tool on Tuesday aimed at helping the survival of the North Atlantic right whale. It comes on the eve of regulatory decisions that could affect the fate of the endangered species — and the lobster industry, as well. Federal scientists said the new data model should help lobstermen and conservationists make collaborative decisions about reducing dangers that fishing gear poses for the endangered. >click to read<12:49

U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act regulations could impact Canadian fishers

While there were no active harvesters at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) public meeting on Thursday, Feb. 28, at the Clarenville Inn, the resource managers still discussed two topics which will affect fishers in the future — the United States’ marine mammal protection act and potential fishery monitoring policies. DFO resource manager Jackie Kean explained the United States Marine Mammal Protection Act is nothing new, it’s been around since the 1970s. However, DFO made clear that all countries who export to the U.S.A. must meet their requirements for marine mammal bycatch while fishing various species in local waters. >click to read<18:33

Time tension line-cutter could offer lobstermen a whale entanglement solution

A Maine lobsterman and machinist believes he could have the solution to North Atlantic right whale entanglement issues in the state’s lobster fishery. Ben Brickett of Blue Water Concepts presented – or more accurately re-presented – his idea for a “Time Tension Line-Cutter” at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum on 1 March. The technology, which he invented over a decade ago, provides a solution for whale entanglements that doesn’t compromise rope strength or require any electronics. >click to read<11:26

Whales and license laws top lobster industry agenda

The blowy weather that made lobster fishing a hard chance recently might well have been a blessing in disguise. The wind and cold certainly have given shorebound Maine lobstermen a good chance to learn about the tempests engulfing their industry in the Legislature and the world of fisheries regulation. Already beset by limits on how they fish — trap numbers, trawl length, the kind and strength of rope used for groundlines and buoy end lines are all regulated in the name of conservation or protecting endangered northern right whales — lobstermen are waiting to see what new rules regulators may impose on the fishery. >click to read<11:45

Efforts Underway to Reduce Lobster Fishing Gear to Help Rare Whale

Interstate fishing managers are starting the process of trying to reduce the amount of lobster fishing gear off the East Coast in an attempt to help save a declining species of rare whale. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced this month that it would consider options designed to reduce vertical lobster fishing lines in the water by as much as 40 percent. The commission said it would try to reduce the amount of gear with a combination of trap limits, seasonal closures, changes to gear configuration and other methods. The rules are under development and it will take months before they come up for public hearings. >click to read<10:45

New drive to reduce lobster fishing gear to help rare whale

Interstate fishing managers are starting the process of trying to reduce the amount of lobster fishing gear off the East Coast in an attempt to help save a declining species of rare whale. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced on Wednesday that it would consider options designed to reduce vertical lobster fishing lines in the water by as much as 40 percent. >click to read<13:48

Atlantic Lobster Board Moves Toward Reducing Rope In Effort To Save Right Whales

A consortium of Atlantic states fisheries managers is calling for broad changes to the gear lobstermen use, in an effort to reduce risks posed to the endangered North Atlantic right whale and to ward off potential federal action that could be even more challenging for the industry. At a meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council in Virginia, its lobster board voted unanimously to set in motion the process that could lead to major changes in the East Coast’s lobster industry. >click to read<12:43

Whale rule changes coming on two tracks

Maine lobstermen and their representatives, along with state fisheries regulators, continue in the trenches of debates about how much the Maine lobster fishery is implicated in the decline of the North Atlantic right whale. Ongoing efforts to protect the whales from entanglement with fishing gear may result in two different new sets of regulations, Sarah Cotnoir, resource coordinator for the Maine Department of Marine Resources, and Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, told the Zone B Council last week. >click to read<11:03

North Atlantic Right Whale: Fishing closure looms over South Shore lobstermen

The annual fishing closure that forces a halt of the lobstering industry each winter is still a month away, but lobstermen are already pulling their traps out of the water and preparing for a long three months of trying to make ends meet. For the last four years, federal regulations have forced lobstermen out of the water from Feb. 1 to April 30, an attempt to lessen the number of North Atlantic right whales that die due to fishing gear entanglements. Not only can the fishermen not be in the water, but they also have to pull all of their traps from the ocean floor before Feb. 1 — as many as 800 per commercial license. >click to read<19:15

Rare North Atlantic right whale calf spotted off Florida

A North Atlantic right whale calf spotted Friday off Florida with its mother is the first of the calving season for the imperiled marine mammals, after last year’s season passed with no documented births. “Super excited, super excited,” said Christopher Slay, owner of Coastwise Consulting, the company that provided endangered species observers aboard a dredging vessel off Jacksonville Beach, near the mouth of the St. Johns River. >click to read<10:25

Ropeless lobster fishing? Stakeholders get a progress report

The Ropeless Consortium, a group of scientists and other interested stakeholders hosted by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, met Nov. 6 to consider the prospects of ropeless fishing to reduce whale entanglements with lobster gear. “It was very cool to see how advanced the technology is and the many companies and groups working on development around the world,” Zack Klyver, lead naturalist for Bar Harbor Whale Watch, who attended the meeting, told the Mount Desert Islander. >click to read<10:30

Third North Atlantic Right Whale Mortality of 2018 Confirmed

On Sunday, October 14, the NOAA vessel Henry B. Bigelow reported a sighting of a whale carcass floating about 100 miles east of Nantucket. After review of photographs by experts today, the carcass has been confirmed to be a North Atlantic right whale. The whale was at least 35 feet long, making it a sub-adult. This is the third known right whale mortality of 2018. The carcass is severely decomposed, but photographs show multiple wounds indicative of human interaction. The initial examination revealed marks consistent with entanglement. However, at this stage is it too early to speculate on the cause of the death. >click to read<08:16

NOAA Scientists Admit Finding In Recent Right Whale Report Just A Hypothesis

Federal fishery regulators are taking back their claim that newer lobster fishing gear is harmful to North Atlantic right whales.,, They found a 2015 rule requiring less traps with stronger fishing line is making entanglements of right whales worse. However, the agency said that statement is actually not based on science. Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, said the report is still flawed. >click to read<11:52

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

NOAA findings on right whale endangerment could affect lobster fishery

A new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center finds that the decline of the North Atlantic right whale population over the past eight years is due to multiple factors that include entanglement with fishing gear. The whales’ range expansion has exposed them to vessel traffic and fisheries in Canadian waters, which did not have protections for right whales in place until late last summer, the report says. Lobster populations are also changing distribution in the Gulf of Maine, causing U.S. fisheries to move farther offshore in pursuit of lobsters, thus increasing overlap between fishing activity and right whale foraging areas and migration corridors. >click to read<14:30

Scientists and fishermen team up to help save North Atlantic right whale

Whale researchers and fishermen are out at sea together on a two-week mission, combining efforts to help save the endangered north Atlantic right whale. These two worlds have usually stayed far apart, but for the first time scientists are onboard a crab boat to do their field work. Crab fisherman Martin Noel, captain of the Jean-Denis Noel boat in Shippagan, agreed to take scientists out in the gulf to help them carry out their research this year. “We don’t want to be called whale killers,” Noel said. “We want to be called fishermen that are implicated in the solution.” All season, fishermen begged Ottawa to involve them in fisheries management. They felt the federal government was imposing overly strict measures without consultation with industry. >click to read<09:28

Whale News – Rare right whale last seen in Cape Cod Bay spotted in Iceland, Southern resident Orca calf dies soon after birth

A right whale last seen off Marshfield has turned up in Iceland. An Icelandic whale watch tour spotted the critically endangered mammal on Monday. Mogul, the 10-year-old male North Atlantic right whale, was last seen in Cape Cod Bay April 21. >click to readMogul the right whale’s appearance off Iceland puzzles scientist >click to read< Meanwhile, The first calf born in three years to the endangered orcas that spend time in Pacific Northwest waters died Tuesday – >click to read< Alexandra Morton Press release – Baby Orca death could be linked to salmon farm virus >click to readNOAA prioritizing West Coast Chinook salmon stocks for Southern Resident killer whale recovery >click to read<09:27

Bay of Fundy fishery has whale of a problem

I’ve worked for the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association for 25 years. It’s been a good career; there’s always something new in the fishery. I’ve gotten to know some great people both locally and across the country. I come from a fishing family: my father, brother and brother-in-law are all fishermen. I have a strong attachment to what I do and why I do it.,, The right whales ventured north to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Things were bad last summer. Twelve whales were found dead. Two were entangled in fishing gear. The rest: blunt force trauma or unknown causes, though none of those had fishing gear on them. Government swung into reactionary precautionary mode. We watched amazed and horrified from the other side of the Maritimes while fishery after fishery closed.
Then last week it was our turn. by Bonnie Morse >click to read<21:25

$1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan – Canada takes immediate action to protect endangered whales

Today, Canada’s Whales Initiative was announced in Vancouver by the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, and Jonathan Wilkinson, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. This $167.4 million initiative under Budget 2018 will protect and support the recovery of the Southern Resident Killer Whale, the North Atlantic right whale, and the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga whale through comprehensive actions tailored to address the unique combinations of threats. >click to read<13:02