Tag Archives: North Atlantic right whales

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

Fixed Gear Closures – NOAA closes areas to protect whales

As NOAA Fisheries continues to address the rising peril to whales in coastal waters stretching from New England to Florida, it is reminding local fishermen of current or impending gear closures off Massachusetts. The closures, primarily around Cape Cod and in Cape Cod Bay, are part of NOAA Fisheries’ Atlantic large whale take reduction plan developed to provide increased protection to several species of whales — particularly the endangered North Atlantic right whales whose population continues to plummet. Some of the gear closures impact trap and pot fishermen, while other impact gillnetters. >click to read<19:15

Gear is in wrong place for right whales, scientists say

Speaking at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum on Friday,,, The NOAA Fisheries Large Whale Take Reduction Team recently established separate working groups to study two proposals to reduce the risk of entanglement: splicing several 1,700-pound breaking strength “weak link” sleeves into vertical lines such as those that connect lobster buoys to traps; and removing those ropes altogether by requiring the use “ropeless” fishing gear. Those working groups will focus on whether either solution is technologically feasible, whether it will actually work for fishermen, and whether it can be cost effective for fishermen.,, >click to read<10:32

Are North Atlantic Right Whales Becoming Extinct? Experts Warn About Declining Fertility

The North Atlantic right whales may soon become extinct as no new births have been recorded, experts have warned. According to a report in the Guardian, the scientists who observed a whale community off the U.S. coast have not recorded any new births in the right whale population. The report also stated that a huge number of right whale deaths were recorded in 2017. Scientists have, therefore, said that a blend of the rising mortality rate and the declining fertility rate is resulting in the extinction of the right whales. >click to read<10:30 

More changes to snow crab fishery not ruled out – minister wants any changes to be fair across all crab fleets

Government is still weighing its options when it comes to more changes to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, says federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc. Immediate rule changes to the crab fishery were announced Tuesday to help protect the whales. At least 17 died in Canadian and U.S. waters last year. Some died from being hit by ships and others from entanglements with fishing gear. Another right whale turned up dead Thursday in the waters off the coast of Virginia, the first to be reported this year. >click here to read< 22:38

Fines for violating whale-protecting speed may be inadequate, says fisheries minister

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc says he was “surprised” by the more than 500 reported speed limit violations in the Gulf of St. Lawrence last year and questions whether penalties should be stiffer to better protect North Atlantic right whales this year. “This is my own view, that a $6,000 fine may not represent an adequate sanction, it may not represent a sufficient deterrent,” said LeBlanc. ,,, As of late last week, only 14 of the 542 cases had resulted in a fine — all of them a minimum of $6,000, Transport Canada officials have said. >click here to read< 11:10

“We’re expecting 100 per cent compliance,” New snow crab fishing rules rein in use of ropes to protect North Atlantic right whales

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc has announced four changes to the snow crab fishery in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence to protect North Atlantic right whales from entanglement, including reducing the amount of rope floating on the surface and mandatory reporting of all lost gear. The new management measures will take effect immediately and will be enforced “very aggressively,” LeBlanc said during the news conference in Moncton on Tuesday. >click here to read<16:29

Lawsuit filed to save North Atlantic Right Whales from death in fishing gear

Today’s lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., alleges that federal management of the American lobster fishery violates the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The lawsuit seeks to force the agency to sufficiently examine the fishery’s impacts on North Atlantic right whales and adopt additional measures to prevent more entanglements in the future. The lobster fishery is the most active fixed-gear fishery in the northeastern United States. >click here to read< 12:08 

EMF (Electromagnetic Field) Effects and the Precautionary Principle – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

The following is taken from an OSPAR Commission (https://www.ospar.org/) report from 2008. It clearly shows that at the time when interest in offshore wind turbines was really starting to grow there was very little knowledge of, nor had much significant research been done on, the effects of electromagnetic fields on marine or estuarine species, and what little had been done was on mature organisms, with little or no attention given to immature stages. Background Document on potential problems associated with power cables other than those for oil and gas activities: Conclusions in regard to electromagnetic fields Our current knowledge about effects of electromagnetic fields on the marine environment, in particular fauna, is not sufficient. Only a few preliminary conclusions can be reached. click here to read the article 17:07

Officials: Whales, After Deadly Year, Could Become Extinct

Officials with the federal government say it’s time to consider the possibility that endangered right whales could become extinct unless new steps are taken to protect them.,,,  The situation is so dire that American and Canadian regulators need to consider the possibility that the population won’t recover without action soon, said John Bullard, the Northeast Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries.  click here to read the story 09:39

Feces of entangled North Atlantic right whales show ‘extreme suffering’

A new study offers a glimpse into the state of mind of North Atlantic right whales when they are trapped and dying in fishing gear. By measuring hormone levels in the collected feces of the endangered whales, scientists have determined the animals’ stress levels are “sky-high.” “What it tells us is that there is extreme physical trauma and extreme suffering going on,” said Rosalind Rolland, a senior scientist at the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium and the lead author of the study. click here to read the story 14:14

Changes can be made right now to save right whales, says fisherman

Fishermen in Nova Scotia’s snow crab industry say they are already making some immediate changes to prevent more deaths of North Atlantic right whales. Gordon MacDonald, managing director of the Snow Crab Fishermen’s Association off of southeastern Cape Breton, ​said he and other fishermen are already looking at ways to reduce the amount of slack rope attached to traps during the April-to-August snow crab season. “It’s easy, it’s quick and we can get on it right away and see how that goes and then get into other things.” He said the industry doesn’t need to wait for more study and changes to government regulations. “We can’t wait for that development to start doing things that have a positive impact,” he said. click here to read the story 09:53