Tag Archives: North Atlantic right whales

Conservationists plan to sue over right whale deaths

Animal conservation groups say they intend to sue the U.S. government unless North Atlantic right whales are better protected, following the deaths of 15 along U.S. and Canadian coasts. “We are literally facing the extinction of right whales due to human causes,” said Regina Asmutis-Silvia of Whale and Dolphin Conservation North America. In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, declared the deaths of North Atlantic right whales since June 7 an “unusual mortality event,” which triggered a focused and expert investigation into the causes. But the conservation groups want more. click here to read the story 10:01

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

Coast Guard ship fined for going too fast in Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Transport Canada has fined the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir William Alexander $6,000 for going too fast in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The ship allegedly violated the federal government’s 10-knot speed limit that was put in place in August to prevent further deaths of the endangered North Atlantic right whales.​ As of Sept. 16, there’s been 11 right whales confirmed dead in the Gulf. “We take the speed restriction very seriously,” Delphine Denis, a spokesperson for the federal Minister of Transport, said in an email. click here to read the story 16:41

Carcass of a North Atlantic right whale spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrenceclick here to read the story

Federal fisheries minister says he’ll ensure fishermen leave a ‘minimum amount of rope’ on the water

As federal fisheries officials consider changes in the industry to avert whale deaths, some lobster fishermen are concerned about the potential effect on their livelihood. Last week, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc said the federal government will bring “absolutely every protection to bear” to prevent further deaths of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.,,, LeBlanc said he’s mulled changes in fishing gear, including ensuring fishermen leave a “minimum amount of rope” floating on the surface.,,, But some fishermen say longer lines are necessary to make sure balloon and buoy markers, which are connected by rope to the traps, remain on the surface in strong currents. Susan Beaton agrees. Beaton said she’s worried a decision will be made too hastily. click here to read the story 21:51

Two more North Atlantic right whales found dead on Newfoundland’s west coast

Two more dead whales have washed ashore on Newfoundland’s west coast. The federal fisheries department says the discoveries bring the total of confirmed North Atlantic right whale deaths to at least nine. The department says one of the animals had not been counted amongst the previous eight right whale carcasses that have been spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent weeks. Officials didn’t immediately say when the carcasses washed ashore. click here to read the story 20:39

DFO closes a gulf fishery early to help protect right whales

Fisheries and Oceans Canada closed part of the snow crab fishery two days early on Wednesday as part of efforts to save the remaining population of North Atlantic right whales. The department announced several steps to protect the whales two days after the death of Joe Howlett, who was killed Monday after freeing a North Atlantic right whale that had been entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near Shippagan, N.B.,,, DFO said it will review fisheries in the area of the gulf where right whales have been showing up in greater numbers, with some encountering danger. click here to read the story 09:33

Preliminary findings of necropsies -Two whales suffered blunt trauma, another killed by fishing gear

Injuries suffered by at least two of six North Atlantic right whales found floating lifeless in the Gulf of St. Lawrence appear to be consistent with ship strikes, marine mammal experts say. Tonya Wimmer of the Marine Animal Response Society said Tuesday that the preliminary findings of necropsies on three of the whales indicate that two of them sustained blunt traumas that caused extensive bruising along their sides and internal hemorrhaging. A third died after becoming snarled in fishing rope that wrapped around one flipper and inside its mouth. click here to read the story ,,,, Whale deaths raise concern – The first dead whale spotted on June 6 was a 10-year-old male who was last seen in Cape Cod Bay on April 23 by the Center for Coastal Studies. The elapsed time between those sightings was only about six weeks. The other identified dead whales included two adult males, at least 17 and 37 years old, and a highly valuable 11-year-old female. Through DNA analysis, two of the males were known to have sired calves. The two remaining unidentified whales were a male and a female. click here to read the story 14:11

DFO concerned by deaths of 5 endangered North Atlantic Right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is working with marine mammal experts, scientists, and fishery officers from across Atlantic Canada to determine what has caused the recent deaths of several rare North Atlantic Right whales in eastern Canada. At least five dead Right whales have been seen recently in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This situation is very concerning. The cause of death is unknown at this time and DFO is committed to finding out what happened to these animals and to protecting this species. DFO is reaching out for assistance from a broad range of expertise from the Marine Animal Response Society, the Canadian Whale Institute and wildlife pathology veterinarians from the Atlantic Veterinary College and the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative to find answers. DFO is also working with partners including Transport Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, the USA’s National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (as this is a cross border issue) and commercial area fishermen. click here to read the press release 09:21

South Shore Lobstermen brace for third year of fishing ban

It’s a classic New England scene, colorful lobster traps stacked up along a dock. But for fishermen in South Shore lobster ports, those grounded traps are a symbol of hard times ahead. Aban that keeps most of their gear out of the water for the winter is entering its third year, despite arguments that it causes them unfair economic hardship. “If it made sense, that would be one thing,” Irvine Nash, a lobsterman for 48 years, said as he stood on a dock in Green Harbor. “But it don’t,” he said. Behind him, fishermen were pulling traps out of the water and loading them on trucks. They will sit empty in yards and garages until May, when the government lifts the ban. Under a recent rule from the National Marine Fisheries Service, all traps from outer Cape Cod to Cape Cod Bay and parts of Massachusetts Bay must be out of the water by Feb. 1. That’s an area just under 3,000 square nautical miles. The federal agency first imposed the ban in 2015, to decrease the likelihood of endangered North Atlantic right whales, which come to Cape Cod Bay every winter, from entangling themselves in lobster lines. Read the story here 08:36

North Atlantic right whales recovery hurt by entanglements, scientists say

North_Atlantic_right_whaleThe ability of an endangered whale species to recover is jeopardized by increasing rates of entanglement in fishing gear and a resultant drop in birth rates, according to scientists who study the animal. The population of North Atlantic right whales has slowly crept up from about 300 in 1992 to about 500 in 2010. But a study that appeared this month in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science said the number of baby right whales born every year has declined by nearly 40 percent since 2010. Study author Scott Kraus, a scientist with the New England Aquarium in Boston who worked on the study, said the whales’ population suffers even when they survive entanglements in fishing gear. Entanglements have surpassed ship strikes as a leading danger to right whales in recent years. Forty-four percent of diagnosed right whale deaths were due to ship strikes and 35 percent were due to entanglements from 1970 to 2009, the study said. From 2010 to 2015, 15 percent of diagnosed deaths were due to ship strikes and 85 percent were due to entanglements, it said. Read the article here 09:10

NOAA Expands Critical Habitat for Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

Using new information not previously available, NMFS (read the Fed Regmap_1) is expanding critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales to cover its northeast feeding areas in the Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank region and southeast calving grounds from North Carolina to Florida. This final rule, which was initially proposed in February 2015 and received 261 general comments over a 60-day comment period, does not include any new restrictions or management measures for commercial fishing operations. Read the post here 15:41

New Study: Scientists unravel whale entanglement damage

Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have released a new study documenting how much damage entanglements in fishing gear does to North Atlantic right whales — one of the most endangered of all the large whale species. Their migratory routes take them through some of the busiest commercial fishing areas along the East Coast of the United States — including the Gulf of Maine — and into . According to the institution scientists, entanglements with fishing gear represent the leading cause of death for endangered whales. Read the article here, 18:32

New Critical Habitat Proposed for North Atlantic Right Whales

The proposed critical habitat, which you can see in the maps below, greatly expands the previous designation. The key benefit of designating critical habitat is that other Federal agencies are put on notice that they must consult with NOAA Fisheries if they intend to authorize, fund, or carry out an action that may affect right whale critical habitat. This activity does not include any new restrictions for commercial fishing operations or shipping lanes. (yet!) Read the rest here 08:01

Ship Strikes of Whales are more common than you might think!

Marine biologist Greg Silber is after new insights to prevent US vessels from striking whales. “What we did was build a whale model that was completely to scale,” Silber told Business Insider. “The same density, the same weight, the same size, relative to the size of the vessel model. And then we ran the ship model at the whale.” Read the rest here 08:29

Scientific ‘buried treasure’ may yield data about shorelines’ future. (may, that could, might,,)

msDeep beneath the ocean floor off the New Jersey coast lie secrets that could help scientists predict how climate change might affect one of the most popular shorelines in the country.,, The work has triggered some controversy.,, Environmental groups have expressed concerns,,, Read more here  09:41

Econuts File Another Suit.

A coalition of environmental and animal protection groups has sued the federal government to protect critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. Read more eco sue and settle squalk here  19:53

Massachusetts Lobstermen oppose gear changes – “Fishermen are willing to help,” “We have helped. But does it ever end?

Along the Massachusetts coast, the idea favored so far by federal regulators would close waters along the Outer Cape and east of Chatham to trap/pot fishing from Jan. 1 through April 30. The favored approach would require more than one trap/pot on a single vertical rope, called a trawl, depending on region and distance to shore, and fishermen would have to put more and bigger identifying tags on both trap/pot and gillnet gear. [email protected]