Tag Archives: North Atlantic right whale

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

First North Atlantic right whale of season seen off N.S. amid fishing concerns

The first North Atlantic right whale of the season has been spotted in waters off eastern Cape Breton amid concerns from fishermen that measures meant to protect the endangered mammals have led to increased fishing activity and greater risk. Fisheries officials said late Tuesday that one of their surveillance flights had reported a right whale sighting in Canadian waters after it likely transited from wintering grounds off the U.S. seaboard. “Based on the information DFO has at this time, there is no immediate plan to implement any temporary measures. At this time fishing will continue, but harvesters should be on alert.”>click to read<10:30

The Future of Lobstering May Mean Fishing by Computer

Lobster fishing used to be pretty straightforward. But there may be big changes ahead for fishermen in New England. “First thing you have to remember is, you’re taking the lobster industry and flipping it around on its head and shaking it,” Mike Lane said, sitting on his lobster boat in Cohassett Lane. Lane is a life-long fisherman. His dad fished for lobster before him. He’s concerned about the proposals. “How are you going to teach 60-year old men that don’t use computers to use a computer?” >click to read<08:51

Coast Guard, NOAA OLE increase efforts to protect North Atlantic right whale

Northeast Coast Guard units and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement personnel are increasing focus this year on the enforcement of the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to detect and deter illegally-placed fishing gear and reduce the likelihood of fatal whale entanglements from occurring.,, Additionally, Coast Guard units across the First District will engage in an operation taking aim on at-sea inspections of unattended lobster and gillnet gear. The goal is to identify and remove illegally-rigged and improperly-marked gear in an effort to decrease whale entanglements within New England’s waters. >click to read<17:32

As Lobster prices soar, Marshfield lobstermen stay docked

Boats piled high with buoys and lobster traps sat moored in Green Harbor on Tuesday. Normally, the 65-degree day would be perfect for fishing, but it’s been nearly three months since the 45 commercial fishing boats in Marshfield have caught any lobster and the harbor buzzed with fishermen eager to get back in the water. Lobster traps are banned from 3,000 nautical miles of waters in Cape Cod Bay and parts of Massachusetts Bay between Feb. 1 and May 1 to decrease the likelihood of endangered North Atlantic Right whales from entangling themselves in lobster lines. The ban takes about 300 lobster boats offline,,,>click to read<08:34

Can anyone save the North Atlantic right whale? A group of South Shore lobstermen say they know what the answer is

By the time Mike Lane shoves off the Cohasset docks, it’s past 8 a.m. — practically lunch time for a lobsterman. But it’s early spring, and the South Shore fisheries are mostly closed, so Lane is keeping a somewhat relaxed schedule. Lobsters tend to hole up for the season several miles farther offshore, and Lane would like to be there, fishing his 800 traps. That area also happens to be a feeding area for North Atlantic right whales — one of our planet’s most endangered species. And so, four years ago, the federal government closed these grounds for much of the winter and spring. That means all Lane can do right now is set a few traps in a small area just outside Cohasset Harbor. >click to read<11:37

Speed limits, snow crab season changes coming to help save the whales

Ottawa is changing the dates of Canada’s snow crab season and establishing a permanent speed limit in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in hopes of protecting the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale.,, LeBlanc’s department is adjusting the dates of the snow crab season so it starts and ends earlier. The snow crab fishery will start as soon as possible, with the help of icebreakers and a hovercraft. The southern part of the Gulf, where most of the right whales were spotted last year, will be closed to fishing after April 28. >click to read<13:55

Low numbers of endangered whales raise question about lobster industry impacts

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Mark Baumgartner said that to help the whales survive much longer, the ropes Maine lobstermen use to tend their traps have to be modified or even eliminated. And it’s not just for the whales’ sake. “I feel the industry is in jeopardy,” Baumgartner said.,,, Last month the Conservation Law Foundation’s Portland office filed a federal lawsuit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for violating the Endangered Species Act. >click to read< 12:10

SMU students hoping to save whales with ropeless fishing gear

A trio of graduate students at Saint Mary’s University is building a fishing gear prototype that could help lobster and crab fishermen save money by reducing lost traps and save whales and other marine life from becoming entangled in ropes. Ross Arsenault and Aaron Stevenson are in the two-year masters of technology entrepreneurship and innovation program, while Maxwell Poole is taking a masters of applied health services research.,,, Then, the students heard about the crisis facing the endangered North Atlantic right whale, which was dying in record numbers in Canadian waters last year. >click to read< 18:28

Ropeless traps could help mitigate right whale deaths, says U.S. scientist

A U.S. scientist is working on trying to stop right whale entanglements with fishing gear, which garnered increased attention after a spate of deaths this past summer. Mark Baumgartner, a biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., has been studying North Atlantic right whales since 1999.,, One of the problems is that modern ropes are much stronger and last longer than they used to be and don’t break as easily when they come into contact with large sea animals. click here to read the story 13:49
Whale-safe Fishing Gear – New buoy for lobster traps could prevent entanglements click here to read the story

Here’s why 12 right whales died in Canadian waters — and why more will die if nothing is done

A macabre joke in the field is that there are more North Atlantic right whale researchers than actual North Atlantic right whales. The scientific community is tight-knit: on top of the hours many of them spend sardined together on research boats and survey planes, a consortium dedicated to studying and conserving the species gathers every year for a meeting that tips further towards family reunion than your average academic conference. Still, as biologists, conservationists and policy-makers began filling an auditorium at St. Mary’s University very early on a Sunday morning in late October, the emotional register of the meeting felt unusually charged. Attendees greeted each other with bracing hugs. click here to read the story 12:27

Another North Atlantic right whale found dead on Cape Cod

Yet another North Atlantic right whale carcass has been discovered, the sixteenth confirmed death of the endangered species this year. The International Fund for Animal Welfare says the carcass was found on Nashawena Island, south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The animal welfare organization says the carcass was “very decomposed,” but it is working alongside the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to determine the cause of death. click here to read the story 09:47

Veterinarians release results from study of North Atlantic right whale deaths

Veterinarians examining the carcasses of six right whales found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this summer say four died from blunt force trauma, one was entangled in fishing gear and the other was too decomposed to say for sure. Pierre-Yves Daoust of the Atlantic Veterinary College says there was no evidence to suggest various toxins may have played a major role in the deaths.,,, About a dozen North Atlantic right whales have died in the Gulf since June — an unprecedented number of deaths for a marine mammal that is at risk of extinction with an estimated population of just 458. click here to read the story 12:23

Statement by Ministers LeBlanc and Garneau on report released on this summer’s North Atlantic Right Whale deathsclick here to read the statement 

Another dead North Atlantic right whale found off Cape Cod

Another dead North Atlantic right whale has been spotted off Massachusetts, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths in North America this summer to at least 13. The U.S. Coast Guard documented and reported the latest carcass on Monday, Jennifer Goebel, public affairs officer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Greater Atlantic region, confirmed on Wednesday. This is the third dead North Atlantic right whale discovered in U.S. waters, said Goebel. The news comes just one week after another whale was found floating off Martha’s Vineyard, the Massachusetts island south of Cape Cod. click here to read the story 09:04

Whale experts seek why of minke death – The whale had been found floating dead in Blue Hill Bay on Sunday. click here to read the story

Why are whales dying in the Gulf of St. Lawrence? What it means for fisheries and the future

It was about four years ago when the sightings first began. In the beginning, just a few fishermen reported seeing large black whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in areas clustered off the coast of Cape Breton Island. With each summer came more sightings. One was seen off the north coast of PEI. Another off of Pleasant Bay at Cape Breton Highlands National Park. A couple off of Southside Antigonish Harbour. Soon, the reports were in the dozens. The sightings were initially treated as a passing curiosity. The North Atlantic right whale, a rare and endangered species distinguished by patches of roughened white skin, had been seen off the coast of the Gaspé in Quebec before – though few could recall ever seeing them in this part of the gulf.  But then came the deaths. That’s when everyone started paying attention – especially the fishermen. click here to read the story 14:47

Today’s Whale News. 8th right whale found dead, 1 more entangled, whale rescues resume, young Humback detangled of Cali.

An eighth North Atlantic right whale has been found dead and another is entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Marine Animal Response Society said in a Facebook post.
All eight deaths have occurred in the gulf since the beginning of June, which experts are calling an “unprecedented event.” click here to read the story

U.S. officials are lifting a ban on some whale disentanglement efforts after briefly banning the practice that last week led to the death of a Canadian fisherman. But the ban will stay in effect for right whales, “whose unpredictable behavior is particularly challenging during rescue attempts,” Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said Tuesday. click here to read the story

A crew of 20-25 people spent eight hours Tuesday freeing a juvenile humpback whale that had been entangled in fishing gear off the coast of Crescent City since Thursday. click here to read the story 11:30

 

Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling renews push against seismic testing as a deadline nears

Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling has formally opposed federal permits that would allow companies conducting seismic testing to harass marine life as a byproduct of the process. A public comment period seeking input on the authorizations ends Thursday. Five companies have applied to use seismic air guns to survey the Atlantic Ocean for potential oil and gas deposits. Seismic testing requires separate approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the companies “to incidentally, but not intentionally, harass marine mammals.” The proposed testing would violate federal law by affecting more than a small number of animals and would have more than the “negligible impact” required for the authorizations,, click here to read the story 17:26

Endangered and Threatened Species: Critical Habitat for Endangered North Atlantic Right Whale-Proposed rule; request for comments.

We, the NMFS, propose to replace the critical habitat for right whales in the North Atlantic with two new areas. The areas under consideration as critical habitat contain approximately 29,945 nm 2 of marine habitat in the  region (Unit 1) and off the Southeast U.S. coast (Unit 2). We have considered positive and negative economic, national security, and other relevant impacts of the proposed critical habitat. We do not propose to exclude any particular area from the proposed critical habitat. Read the rest here 14:10

Right whale, calf make rare winter appearance near Plymouth Harbor (the article comments are priceless)

A North Atlantic right whale and her calf were spotted outside Plymouth Harbor on Saturday, the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies said — a sighting so early that one scientist called it “mind blowing.” Read more

Yes, mind blowing. Fishermen would recognize this as not good.