Tag Archives: North Atlantic right whales

Feds planning 2019 protections for North Atlantic right whales

How the federal government will confirm, modify or adapt protective measures for North Atlantic right whales in 2019 remains to be seen, but officials are sharing the initial findings of 2018’s scientific surveys and studies. After a catastrophic loss of 12 right whales in Canadian waters in 2017, no right whales died here this year, but at a technical briefing Tuesday, officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Transport Canada didn’t say whether protections put in place this year were enough — or too much. ,,, Instead they shared key results of a recent peer review of new science by researchers, industry representatives, government officials — as well as scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. — who gathered in Montreal in an effort to reach evidence-based conclusions.>click to read<08:48

Virtual whale entanglements seen as a learning tool

Scientists know for sure that commercial fishing rope entangles and eventually can kill North Atlantic right whales. But with the aid of technology to simulate an entrapment, scientists want to better understand and ultimately identify new, less harmful gear options. “We don’t want to have solutions that are good for whales but bad for fishermen,” said biologist Timothy Werner, who co-authored a recent study about the interactive simulation technology at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium in Boston. >click to read<19:26

Feds review this year’s right-whale protections

It was enough. But was it too much? That’s the question Fisheries and Oceans Canada wants to answer after a season of unprecedented measures to protect North Atlantic right whales — including mandatory ship slowdowns and fisheries closures. To date, none of the critically endangered whales has died in Canadian waters in 2018, unlike in 2017, when 12 died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, largely due to ship strikes and entanglements in fishing gear.,,, On the East coast, the department (DFO) is now holding regional meetings with members of the fishing industry to gather feedback on those management measures. >click to read<15:03

Measures to protect North Atlantic right whales have been effective, official says

Representatives of the fishing industry and Fisheries and Oceans Canada met in Moncton over the weekend to look at the impact protection measures were having on the North Atlantic right whale — and to help decide what should happen next year. The 2018 fishing season has been controversial, with fishermen in the Acadian Peninsula protesting the new federal measures that were put in place to protect the North Atlantic right whale. Some of those measures included closing several fisheries where whales were present in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, speed restrictions for boats and increased surveillance. >click to read<15:34

Environment commissioner says Ottawa waited too long to act in protecting at-risk whales

As Ottawa tries to prove it is doing enough to protect Southern resident killer whales to the courts, the nation’s environmental watchdog says the government has been slow to protect at-risk whales. In her latest audit, Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand says Ottawa waited until the killer whale population off the B.C. coast reached dangerously low levels, and when 12 North Atlantic right whales died in a single summer, before taking action. >click to read<13:55

Feds have failed to protect marine mammals: environment commissioner – >click to read<

Bid to reduce right whale deaths ‘extremely effective,’ Canadian officials say

A year after the population of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales suffered devastating losses, Canadian officials say measures taken this season to protect the species have worked. With the summer fishing season in the Gulf of St. Lawrence drawing to a close, the federal Fisheries Department confirmed Friday that not one whale has died as a result of a ship strike or fishing gear entanglement — the main causes for most of the deaths last season. In all, 17 right whales died last year — 12 of them in Canadian waters,,, The federal government responded with a series of protection measures, which included speed restrictions for boats, increased surveillance and a series of closures of fishing areas where right whales were spotted. >click to read<11:36

Whale-watchers ask why herring fishery carries on where right whales sighted

A whale-watching tour operator and one of her customers say they are concerned nothing was done to stop herring seiners after two North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the Bay of Fundy off Brier Island, N.S. ,,”My big concern is the herring fishery,” Blackman said. “The seiners have been moving in every night. The last three nights they have been right in the place we spotted the whale this afternoon. Right in the opening between Brier Island and Long Island. “We’re watching the herring seiners come in, and they set up with these huge nets which are endangering the whale.” >click to read<09:51

Fishing industry taking steps to protect endangered whales, says association

The president of the Western Gulf Fishermen’s Association says he is proud of the efforts undertaken by spring lobster fishermen to help prevent fishing gear entanglements by endangered North Atlantic right whales. Craig Avery said fishermen went with larger bunches during the fishing season to reduce the amount of rope in the water. Shortly after the season closed, Avery estimates more than 30 boats assisted Fisheries and Oceans personnel in a two-day sweep of the lobster grounds, looking for missing or forgotten lobster gear. >click to read<18:32

Testing ropeless fishing gear

A test of ropeless fishing gear could protect the livelihoods of lobster fishermen and lives of North Atlantic right whales. Industry is totally against this, Lobsterman David Casoni announced from his Margaret M fishing boat tied up at the dock of the Sandwich Marina, Gear manufacturer Marco Flagg had stepped aboard holding his cylinder attached to a mesh bag filled with rope and floats. But, Casoni said, the states 1200 commercial lobstermen could be interested in the equipment under certain conditions. >click to read<08:54

NewBrunswick: Some go home with more money in their pockets, some less, as fishing season ends

Lobster and crab fishermen in northern New Brunswick are removing their gear from the water Friday, as the season draws to a close. Saturday marks the official end to what fishermen described as a roller-coaster season in the Acadian Peninsula. All areas close to fishing on June 30, except for Neguac and Burnt Church, where the lobster season was extended until July 2. There were outcries and protests from the fishing community throughout the season, over new measures imposed by the federal government to protect endangered north Atlantic right whales, after a historically deadly summer. At the end of this eventful season, the feelings are mixed. >click to read<12:39

DFO closes another fishing area in northern N.B. after right whale sighting

Another fishing area in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has been closed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans after North Atlantic right whales were spotted. The latest closure in extends the no-fish zone farther east, well into the middle of the Gulf. The measures will see the following grid closed: GX39. Fishermen have until Tuesday at 3 p.m. to remove any fishing gear in the area. This is the seventh closure of a fishing area over the last month in the waters off northern New Brunswick that has forced crab fishermen and lobster fishermen to move their fishing gear to other areas. >click to read<11:33

Lobster fishermen comply with federal order and move traps to smaller area

Lobster fishermen aboard about 60 boats spent Sunday morning pulling traps from waters off Miscou Island in northeastern New Brunswick in order to comply with a zone closure put in place by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The closures in Lobster Fishing Area 23 were announced by the DFO on June 11, after five North Atlantic right whales were seen between Miscou and the Gaspe Peninsula. DFO boats were in the area monitoring the situation as the traps were hauled up. “There’s a very small block that they can kind of move into. They are limited on the amount of territory that is left for them so they’re all going to have to cram into what’s left I guess.” >click to read<10:16

New DFO orders ‘hard pill to swallow’ for N.B. lobster fishermen

Lobster fishermen off the coast of Miscou Island, N.B., will spend Sunday morning hauling gear from the waters in order to comply with the latest fishing zone closures imposed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. On Friday afternoon, the DFO re-opened four areas previously closed to fishing due to the presence of right whales. But with more closures being imposed on Sunday, frustrations continue to mount. Carl Allen, president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, organized the most recent protest and met with LeBlanc on Friday.,,”I have a lot of respect for Minister LeBlanc, but we just don’t agree with the basis of the whole plan — it’s a hard pill to swallow,” he said.,, LeBlanc did offer the fishermen an alternative, however. He offered a paid training program for crew members and plant workers affected by these closures. >click to read<18:20

Lobster harvesters unfairly blamed of harm to North Atlantic right whales

Much has been written about the ongoing challenge of protecting the North Atlantic right whale along the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The impact the 18 reported deaths in 2017 has had on the entire right whale population cannot be understated. The issue in many cases has been a lack of substantiated facts with regard to specific fisheries and the ongoing commitment by key fisheries to protect the right whale. The Canadian lobster fishery is one of those key fisheries that has, until now, remained silent about our role and our ongoing commitment to North Atlantic right whale protection. Our harvesters and processors do what’s needed to ensure a sustainable fishery without fanfare. >click to read<08:28

Ottawa considers help for Gulf of St. Lawrence fisheries after right whale protection measures

“At the moment we are not talking about compensating with actual financial compensation the fishermen,” LeBlanc said in a telephone interview. New Brunswick Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet called Monday for measures to address lost revenue, and LeBlanc said that is “entirely consistent” with his department’s approach to the developing situation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. LeBlanc said it includes looking at ways to help processing plant workers qualify for Employment Insurance, and a possible fall opening of the lobster fishery to make up for lost days. >click to read<Meanwhile, Lobster and crab fishermen in Quebec ‘out of options’ as more zones closed off – “I don’t know how we’re going to get out of this one,”  said O’Neil Cloutier, the general manager of the professional fishermen’s association of southern Gaspé. >click to read<19:39

Fisheries minister urges Ottawa to help fishermen make up for revenue lost to Gulf closures

New Brunswick’s fisheries minister is calling on Ottawa to find ways to make up for lost revenue in the fishing industry in light of a growing number of closures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence designed to protect North Atlantic right whales. Rick Doucet issued a statement on Monday night after Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced 10 new grids will be temporarily closed, effective June 15 at 4 p.m. AT, due to the presence of whales. The affected areas include: GV32, GV33, GV34, GV35, GX32, GX33, GX34, GW32, GW33 and GW34. Fishermen and fish processors alike are concerned about lost revenue, said Doucet. >click to read<23:39

DFO will not change fishing area closures, despite proposed exemptions

In a statement released Friday, department officials said they had received proposals from the Maritime Fishermen’s Union and from the Regroupement des Pêcheurs professionnels du Sud de la Gaspésie asking the department to consider exempting shallow waters from temporary closures. However, the department has concluded that the measures will remain in place to protect the North Atlantic right whales from gear entanglements. “This course of action is based on the best science information available about the presence of right whales in our waters,” the statements said. >click to read<11:19

Presence of right whales leads to more fishery closures, to take effect May 30, 2018 at 4 p.m.

The presence of North Atlantic right whales has led to the closure of more fishery areas. Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the temporary closure will start at 4 p.m. on May 30. It is providing a 72 hour advanced notice and extending the delay of the closure by 24 hours due to predicted high winds. It’s unclear how long the closures will last, but DFO said it would make an announcement to industry before it re-opens the area. >click to read<10:18

How ropeless fishing traps could protect North Atlantic right whales — and the fishing industry

Tensions between Atlantic fishermen and conservationists escalated this week as the Department of Oceans and Fisheries closed six fishing grounds off the coasts of New Brunswick and Quebec.,, The whales’ arrival left many Canadian fishermen scrambling to remove their equipment from the affected waters amidst concern over what the closures could mean for their quotas. But scientist and veterinarian Michael Moore is advocating for a new technology that could appease both groups: ropeless fishing traps. >click to read<Who is Michael Moore, >click to read<09:52

Fishermen’s frustration grows as reality of protecting whales sinks in

The president of the Maritime Fishermen’s Union says there is “increasing frustration” among his members after a new temporary closure of an area east of Miscou Island on the northern coast of New Brunswick. The decision by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans comes after a surveillance flight spotted two North Atlantic right whales swimming in the area. Fishermen have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. to remove all of their gear during the 15-day closure, which could be extended if whales remain in the area. Carl Allen said those who have been fishing in the area that will be closed are in a “severe panic.” >click to read<12:26

New Brunswick fishermen alarmed at 2nd closure over whale sighting

Fishermen are alarmed over the closure of another fishing area in order to protect North Atlantic right whales, a move some say will have a drastic effect on the industry. Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced Sunday that a second area off the coast of northern New Brunswick was being closed to fishing for at least two weeks. “We’re behind on our annual catches right now,” said Steven Hughes, a deckhand on a snow crab fishing boat based out of Shippagan. “This brought back the stress on the fishing industry.” >click to read< 15:15

Judge denies bid for temporary halt to lobstering in Massachusetts

A federal judge has declined to issue a temporary restraining order to temporarily stop commercial lobster pot fishing in Massachusetts costal waters to protect North Atlantic right whales. The emergency motion seeking the order, filed May 4 by marine animal conservationist Richard Maximum Strahan, named the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association as defendants, although Strahan’s broader lawsuit, filed Feb. 28, includes federal agencies as well. >click to read<11:58

South Shore lobstermen finally put traps in water

South Shore lobstermen are back on the water this week after more than a three month ban on lobster fishing, aimed at protecting endangered whales. The ban was supposed to be from Feb. 1 to April 30, but an additional two weeks was added because whales were spotted close to the shore last month. In all, local lobstermen have gone 15 weeks without pulling a trap or making a sale. “We’re going into the season broke, let’s put it that way,” fisherman Dana Blackman said Wednesday morning, the day after lobster fishing resumed.,, The ban affects about 75 lobster boats in Marshfield and Scituate alone. >click to read<17:46

Lawsuit challenges fishing methods that could threaten right whales

An environmental activist is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the use of vertical buoy fishing lines in Massachusetts waters to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. In lawsuit filed in late February in U.S. District Court in Boston, conservationist Richard Maximus Strahan of Peterborough, New Hampshire, has sued the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the assistant administrator of the Nation Marine Fisheries Service, the secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the director of the state Division of Massachusetts Fisheries Service, the commissioners of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, as a representative of its members. Strahan wants to stop the state’s lobster association members from further lobster pot and gill net commercial fishing operations unless they can scientifically demonstrate the endangered whales and sea turtles would not be killed or injured. >click to read<19:14

New rules sprung on lobster fishermen to protect whales

Parts of the water off the coast of New Brunswick will be closed to lobster fishing this season to protect the North Atlantic right whale, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has told lobster fishermen.,, But Tuesday’s notice reveals many of the same measures announced in late March for the crab fishery will be applied to lobster fishing in the gulf as well. Lobster fishermen reacted with surprise and disappointment and suggested the new rules were mostly about the federal department’s public image. >click to read<17:48

Snow crab season still on ice, Fishermen remain hopeful of early opening

Despite widespread interest in an early opening date, the president of the P.E.I. Snow Crab Association says weather and ice could dictate when snow crab fishermen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence get on the water. Carter Hutt said there was a desire to have the fishery open by April 20, but he noted there is still a considerable amount of ice in the gulf and the weather hasn’t been co-operating in terms of moving it out. >click to read<11:43

Icebreaker dispatched to Gulf of St. Lawrence to hasten crab season — and save whales

A Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker has been called in to smash through pack ice off the northeast coast of New Brunswick in an unusual bid to help the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales expected to make their way to Canadian waters later this spring. The goal is to allow local snow crab fishermen to complete their season in the Gulf of St. Lawrence earlier than usual, which should reduce the number of ship strikes and entanglements with fishing gear that killed so many whales last year. >click to read<08:14

P.E.I. Lobster fishery reduces floating rope in hopes of protecting North Atlantic right whales

Lobster fishers on P.E.I. are taking new measures this season to help protect the endangered North Atlantic right whales from entanglement. In January, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced changes to the snow crab fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to protect the right whales, including reducing the amount of rope floating on the surface and mandatory reporting of all lost gear. Fishermen are also required to report any sightings of the endangered whales. >click to read<13:46

LeBlanc and Garneau announce plans for protecting North Atlantic right whales

Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Transport Canada’s Marc Garneau will announce plans this morning for protecting North Atlantic right whales.,, Earlier this year, LeBlanc announced new measures for the operation of the snow crab fishery in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence to protect the North Atlantic right whale from entanglement. The changes include reducing the amount of fishing rope floating on the surface and mandatory reporting of all lost gear. The government also said it will most likely impose speed restrictions for vessels again this year, when the whales return to the gulf. >click to read<09:58

New Brunswick Crab fishermen to test ropeless fishing

New Brunswick snow crab fishermen will test two ropeless trap methods this spring to reduce the use of the fishing rope blamed in the deaths of two North Atlantic right whales last year.,,Mark Baumgartner, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, said ropeless fishing is the solution to the entanglement problem.,, Robert Haché, director general of the Acadian Crabbers Association, said the fishermen want to do all they can to prevent entanglements.,, The techniques to be tested this season will be from U.S.-based technology and research companies, Haché said. >click to read< 10:13