Tag Archives: North Atlantic right whale

No North Atlantic Right Whale Deaths In Canadian Waters This Year

It has been a good year for the endangered North Atlantic right whale in Canadian waters. Federal officials say no deaths or new entanglements have been reported to date. The government credits “significant” action taken to help protect the whale. A new season-long fishing area closure protocol was introduced in the Gulf of St. Lawrence based on where whales were detected. Fisheries and Oceans Canada also expanded the scope of where temporary and season-long closures were applied. >click to read< 15:50

From the sea floor to the courtroom, the fight to save right whales

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered species on the planet. Scientists announced last month that there are only about 360 of the animals left, down roughly 50 from the previous year’s survey. They live along the East Coast, from northern Florida to Canada, where the 50-foot-long, 140,000-pound leviathans must navigate through millions of commercial fishing lines primarily, lobster traps, and one of the world’s most crowded shipping channels. Too often they become tangled in those lines, or are struck by a ship, (Ships, A LOT of ships). The fight to save them, led by biologists and conservation groups, has grown urgent — in the water and in the courts. >click to read< 11:28

Three New Calves! North Atlantic Right Whale calving season is now underway

Right whales are an endangered species that usually migrate south along the Georgia and Florida coastline to give birth to their calves. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced over the weekend that calving season is now underway and lasts through March. In the 2020 calving season, there were 10 calves born, which was up from seven in the 2019 season. Despite the increase in calves, the species is still endangered. In the 2020 calving season, there were 10 calves born, which was up from seven in the 2019 season.>click to read< 15:27

More ropeless fishing “experiments” happening on Eastern seaboard as industry leaders meet.

Sean Brillant, who works for the Canadian Wildlife Federation and is chair of the Ropeless Consortium, said they are approaching roughly 1,000 trials across the Eastern Seaboard, the bulk of which has been done in the last 12 months. “Two years ago, we were just getting laughed in our faces at the idea of doing this,” Brillant said. The methods being tested include techniques that allow a line to be stored with a trap at the ocean bottom, and then released to the surface only when a fisherman is ready to haul in their catch. The aim is to cut the risk that whales will be caught in long lengths of rope floating in the water. >click to read< 09:05

Canada, U.S. researchers gathering virtually to report on right whales

Researchers from Canada and the U.S. are gathering virtually this week for an annual conference that focuses on an endangered whale species. The North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, which brings together academic researchers, government agencies, shipping and fishing industries and conservation organizations, is expected to release part of a yearly report card on how the whales are faring. ,, So far this year, one right whale has been found dead in U.S. with wounds that suggested a vessel strike. There have been no reported deaths in Canadian waters so far in 2020. >click to read< 09:40

Zone B waits to present recommendation

Even though a deadline to present a state plan designed to minimize potential harm to right whales is fast approaching, members of the Zone B Lobster Management Council asked Department of Marine Resources officials to check numbers for the area 6-12 miles offshore before agreeing to a plan specific to that fishing zone. “The timeline is short,” said DMR Commissioner Pat Keliher,,, While most members of the Zone B council seemed in favor of the subcommittee’s recommendations, there was some hesitation.   “I support thisit would work for me,” said Howland. “I’d hate to railroad it if there are some concerns. This is better than it could be, but it doesn’t sound like it’s ideal for some guys.”,, “There’s a side of me that feels like this is getting stuffed down my throat,” said council member James Hanscom after asking if the decision could be tabled.  >click to read< 08:09

Max Strahan driven by “duty” to have stricter measures adopted

To many federal and state fisheries managers, and to most people in the lobster industry, the name Max Strahan conjures images of a fanatic determined to put an end to lobster fishing in the name of saving endangered right whales from extinction. (he is), “I’m a scientist and a very ethical and moral person,” (he’s not) Strahan said, claiming that, of 330 million U.S. citizens, he was the only one to file individual suits under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).,, Strahan said he grew up on a farm “somewhere around the area” of New Hampshire and, as a young man, was interested in outdoor activities such as hiking and rock climbing. That led to his interest in wildlife preservation and eventually his efforts to save the endangered spotted owl in the forests of California and Oregon. Strahan filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the birds under the ESA and ultimately the petition was accepted, the owls listed and much of the Pacific timber industry put out of business. >click to read< 09:39

Everything you’ve heard about ‘ropeless’ fishing gear is false.

Is so-called “ropeless” fishing gear the magic bullet for the perceived problem of marine mammal interactions in California’s crab fisheries? (what about the New England lobster fishery?) Several profit-driven environmental groups, including Oceana, would like the public and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to believe it is.,,, In truth, there have only been four mortalities attributed to CA commercial Dungeness crab gear since 2013, and none during the last two seasons.,,, Maine’s lobster fishery has never had a documented serious injury or mortality for any Right whale, and no entanglement since 2002, which makes this a non-problem. One of the problems with “ropeless” gear is that it’s a misleading term used by the profit-driven environmental groups to make it seem harmless. >click to read< 15:06

The Judge has ruled! NMFS must list the North Atlantic Right Whale entanglement facts on paper. Case Closed!

Judge Boasberg has ruled! A new accurate ESA  analysis has been ordered by next June. The National Marine Fisheries Service just needs to put the lobster entanglement facts on paper and it’s “Case Closed” Not only was there an unusual mortality event in the Gulf of St Lawrence.  The Right Whales stopped reproducing. Basically the whales moved up into the South West Gulf of Saint Lawrence in 2015 and took the crab fishermen by surprise and also they set up feeding on copious copepods at the mouth of the St Lawrence River where the Spring flood of nutrients kicks off phytoplankton blooms. Unfortunately this is directly under a shipping lane used solely by cruise ships who traveled at night starting at the end of April.,, by Jim O’Connell, >click to read< 20:26

Boasberg sets deadline for new North Atlantic Right Whale Protections no later than May 31, 2021

The Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Law Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife and the Humane Society of the United States sued the federal government for violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing the lobster fishery to operate in a manner known to entangle right whales. U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg also ordered a new ESA-mandated analysis of the American lobster fishery that takes into account the full scope of its harm to right whales. He stopped short of prohibiting lobster fishing with vertical buoy lines in a key right whale feeding area, which the groups had requested as an interim measure. >click to read< 07:15

Judge: Lobstering can proceed until new right whale protections are finalized in May – The right whale protection lawsuit winding its way through the federal courts for two years has often been called the “wild card” in the battle between environmental groups trying to save the critically endangered whale from extinction and Maine lobstermen trying to protect their way of life. >click to read< 17:24

Giving to Maine Lobstermen’s Association Legal Defense Fund will mitigate the impact of right-whale rules and protect thousands of other businesses.

The Maine lobster industry is the backbone of our coastal communities from Portland to Eastport. Machias Savings Bank has been one of Maine’s leading sources of financing for this industry for decades and we understand that as the industry ebbs and flows, so do the economies of Maine’s coastal communities.,, According to data collected by the National Marine Fisheries Service, no right whale deaths or serious injuries have ever been documented in Maine lobster gear.,, I ask the people of Maine to stand with me in supporting the industry that has buoyed Maine’s economy for decades., by Larry Barker, >click to read< 11:22:31

North Atlantic Right Whale: Maine Certified Sustainable Lobster Association loses MSC certification despite sustainable management of the Maine lobster fishery

The Maine Certified Sustainable Lobster Association (MCSLA) announced today that its Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification will be suspended due to a recent decision in the federal case Center for Biological Diversity v. Ross. The certificate suspension is occurring despite continued sustainable management of the Maine lobster fishery and remains the direct result of NOAA’s 2014 biological opinion on the impact that lobster fishing has on right whales. The MCSLA is anticipating NOAA’s 2020 draft biological opinion, which may be made public as soon as August 2020. Once the 2020 biological opinion is finalized and implemented, the MCSLA will work to quickly regain its MSC certification. >click to read< 11:45

Whale info way off, by Maine Lobsterman Leonard Young

Reading Bill McWeeny’s July 23 commentary bothered me a great deal. His statement that right whales have never been so close to extinction since they were hunted is untrue. I’ve been a lobsterman for almost 50 years, and we’ve been dealing with the whale issue for almost two decades. When we started this process, we were told there were 200 of these animals. Mr. McWeeny decided to omit the fact that we had modified our gear many years ago with sinking ground lines, breakaways in our end lines and more traps on end lines to decrease end lines. Since we did this, entanglements decreased considerably. These animals had increased to almost 500. Then they changed their feeding ground,, by Maine Lobsterman Leonard Young, Corea >click to read< 11:20

‘Blame the fishermen’ media narrative only hurts the endangered right whale

It is not easy to see this population of giants of the sea become extinct, and yes, it is sad. Perhaps it’s because it hits us so hard that we feel the need to point the finger at the culprits. This even more true for the media, who rush to get answers, right away and without asking themselves the real questions.,, If we play the game of “Whose fault is it?”, only in this way will we be able to place the shipping vessels among the guilty parties. As happens too often, the article in question used fishermen as easy targets for a gratuitous accusation under the circumstances. When a whale is hit by a shipping vessel, it either gets injured or dies. In the dock are also the fishermen, for whom blame is almost automatic. >click to read< 10:27

Prime Lobster Season Is Here, but Mike Dawson Isn’t Celebrating.

Mike Dawson (self-employed) Location: New Harbor, Maine Employees: 1, Status: Open, essential industry. The lobsters have just started to “come on” for the 2020 season, which in the lexicon of a Maine lobsterman means the annual lobster migration and catch has begun for the summer. Normally,  that would signal a time for the state’s 5,000 lobster harvesters to spend all their time setting and hauling traps. Not this year. This season is marked by weak demand from restaurants across the country and seafood processors that are taking less meat during the coronavirus pandemic. International markets have slammed shut. As a result, lobster prices are weak.Some lobstermen are still sitting on the sidelines, collecting unemployment. Others, like Mike Dawson, who fishes off New Harbor, Maine, have diversified by catching pogeys, or bait fish, in addition to catching lobster. 16 photo’s, >click to read< 16:05

Northern Right Whales Are on the Brink, and Trump Could Be Their Last Hope

The task of responding will fall to an unlikely champion, President Trump, whose recent appeals for support from Maine lobstermen could clash with the task of saving the right whale. Peter Corkeron, a senior scientist at the New England Aquarium who spent nearly a decade chronicling the gruesome deaths of right whales as the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s research program for large whales, said he feared the listing would have little impact. “Lobstermen certainly recognize the dire circumstance that the right whale species is in right now,” Patrice McCarron, “We’re in this awkward situation where right whales are not doing great, and it’s certainly not the fault of the commercial fisheries.”PEER also filed a complaint last year with the inspector general of the Commerce Department, which oversees NOAA, arguing that federal officials intent on reopening fishing areas have been ignoring their own scientists on climate change as well as other threats to whales. >click to read< 11:37

Officials examining right whale found dead off N.J. – wounds are “consistent with a vessel collision”

The whale’s carcass was spotted floating in the ocean near Monmouth Beach at 12:15 p.m. Friday after first being seen a few miles south in the water off of Long Branch, according to a statement from NOAA.,, was working on a plan to tow it to shore so it could be examined and its cause of death could be determined by a team of investigators.A preliminary examination of the mammal showed several wounds along its head and body that are “consistent with a vessel collision,” however its official cause of death was still unknown, NOAA officials said. >click to read< 08:50

Fishing less could be a win for both lobstermen and endangered whales – they never mention ship strikes

A new study by researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found that New England’s historic lobster fishery may turn a higher profit by operating with less gear in the water and a shorter season. The findings could provide a path forward for the lobster fishing industry, which is under pressure to move away from traditional pot fishing that uses long vertical lines of rope known to entangle and kill endangered North Atlantic right whales and other protected species. The study was published this week in the journal Marine Policy. “The story the data tells is optimistic,” says lead author Hannah Myers, a graduate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a guest student at WHOI. “Entanglements often cause chronic injury, stress, and even starvation if the animal doesn’t immediately drown,” says Michael Moore, a coauthor of the paper and director of WHOI’s Marine Mammal Center. >click to read<  12:06

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<

North Atlantic Right Whale: How to kill a species with Fake News, from National Geographic of all places! – >click to read<

Gulf of St. Lawrence Fishing zones closed after North Atlantic right whale sightings

The closures of the nine grids were effective Friday at 5 p.m. Fisheries and Oceans Canada had allowed a 96-hour delay of the grid closures due to the weather forecast. All of the gear affected had to be removed from the closed area before the time of closure. All gear from any fishing season that was open at the time of the closure had to be removed including snow crab, toad crab, rock crab, lobster, whelk, Greenland halibut (fixed gear) and winter flounder (fixed gear). The closures would also be in effect for Atlantic halibut (fixed gear), mackerel (gillnet) and herring (gillnet) when gear is left unattended. >click to read< 20:22

North Atlantic Right Whale: State must secure incidental take permit within 90 days to to avoid fishery closures

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani said that Massachusetts has done the most of any state in the country to keep endangered North Atlantic right whales from becoming entangled in lobster pot and gillnet lines.,, In her April 30 decision, Talwani postponed ruling on closing fisheries, but gave the state just 90 days to obtain an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. On Monday, a federal judge in Maine ruled that a similar suit could proceed, denying NOAA’s motion to dismiss. Both injunctions were brought forward by Richard “Max” Strahan, a longtime and controversial right whale activist with several prominent cases over the past two decades who sued under the Endangered Species Act. >click to read< 11:35

Court Finds American Lobster Fishery Requires Incidental Take Statement for Impacts on North Atlantic Right Whale

As commercial fisheries across the United States continue to adjust operations in the face of new legal requirements, such as the shift from single-species to ecosystem-based management, one challenge in particular has dominated the courts: the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Recent court decisions have vacated commercial longline fishing permits in federal waters off the coast of California that could endanger the Pacific leatherback sea turtle and restored prohibitions on gillnet fishing gear in a known New England feeding ground for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. This trend continued on April 9, when a federal district court judge in Center for Biological Diversity,,,The American lobster fishery is managed cooperatively by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and NMFS,  >click to read< 14:45

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

North Atlantic Right Whale: How to kill a species with Fake News, from National Geographic of all places!

“Fishing without vertical lines is what is going to save this species.“ says CT Harry of the IFAW who work hand in hand with NOAA. A ridiculous statement in view of the 18 cruise ship strikes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (GSL) in the past few years, in all of NE over 20 years. ¼ whale per year by the lobster industry. Eighteen ship strikes in the GSL over the past 3 years averages 6 per year. These people are killing 24 whales while those people kill one. by Jim O’Connell  >click to read< 13:22

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. – Human caused Right whale deaths have suddenly, in sync with a plummeting whale birthrate, put the right whale on the path to extinction. Why their birth rate, births per year, declined since a tremendous surge in 2000-2009 from 350 to 500 is unknown. In 2018 it hit bottom as no calves were born.  >click to read<

Right Whale Case Alright To Proceed Past Motion To Dismiss

The self-proclaimed activist “Prince of Whales,” Richard Strahan, received a partial victory this week in his lawsuit alleging that Massachusetts’ regulations requiring lobster fisherman to use certain gear violate the Endangered Species Act. On February 7, 2020, United States District Judge Talwani granted in part and denied in part the motion to dismiss.,,  The Court noted that these allegations do not prove that Massachusetts-regulated VBRs have killed or injured right whales, but are sufficient at the early stage in the case to survive a motion to dismiss. The Court went on to dismiss Strahan’s other two counts. >click to read< 09:58

A message from NOAA’s Chris Oliver on conservation and management efforts for North Atlantic right whales

United States and Canada Must Sustain Additional Efforts to Reduce North Atlantic Right Whale Mortalities, Serious Injuries – Last Friday, we met once again with Canadian officials to continue our bilateral focus on the conservation and protection of North Atlantic right whales. The United States and Canada have a shared interest in recovering right whales, and it is critical for both countries to take and sustain additional efforts to reduce right whale mortalities and serious injuries. >click to read< 12:27

Ørsted Forms Research Partnerships to Advance Technology for Protection and Conservation of Right Whales

The company plans to apply the project’s learnings to develop tailored processes and procedures to better protect the North Atlantic right whale during survey, construction and operation phases of their U.S. offshore wind farm portfolio. The ECO-PAM project will ensure the company can act to solve the global climate crisis, while preserving local ecosystems. >click to read< 13:00

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<

Lobstermen throw cold water on Maine state plan to protect whales

Fishermen in the heart of Maine’s $485 million lobster industry don’t like a state proposal to protect endangered right whales from buoy lines, arguing that it forces them to give up too much to fix a problem they aren’t causing.About 75 people packed a local lobster board meeting in Deer Isle on Thursday night to vent about the plan, which they argue is overly complicated, puts them in danger and is unlikely to help the species it is trying to save. >click to read< 09:40

NOAA says days-old North Atlantic right whale already injured by propeller

North Atlantic right whale researchers were thrilled to find out a fourth calf had been spotted this year. But the excitement disappeared after learning the newborn, estimated to be only days old, has been injured, according to NOAA. The American agency said in a statement Thursday the injuries “were consistent with the propeller of a vessel.” >click to read< 09:12

Maine Seeks to Aid Lobstermen as Federal Whale Protections Loom

On Friday, the state’s Department of Marine Resources released a plan it says protects the endangered whales and lobstermen, whom the feds say need to do more to prevent traps and lines from killing the whale. Maine’s suggestions include having lobstermen use ropes with weak points the whales could easily break and calls for a 25% reduction in the amount of vertical trap lines. >click to read< 08:29

Maine Plan Aims To Reduce Lobstering Impact On Right Whales – The Maine Department of Marine Resources tweaked its October proposal to balance the needs of lobstermen while protecting the whales,,, >click to read< 09:32