Tag Archives: right whales

D.C. court rules fisheries remain closed to help right whales

Thursday, a federal district judge ruled two lobster fisheries can remain closed to protect the lives of right whales moving through the area. The case began nearly two years ago as a set of environmental groups Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Law Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife and the Humane Society of the United States filed a complaint against the federal government because they disputed the finding of “no jeopardy” to right whales in the lobster fisheries, despite the finding that an average of 3.25 right whales a year would die through gillnet fishing operations. >click to read< 10:31

Lobstermen hear proposed measures to mitigate danger to right whales

Patrick Keliher, the commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, explained the plan the DMR will submit to the federal government, hoping the proposal is strong enough to meet guidelines.,, Correction, George Michael Bernier, who fishes out of Gouldsboro, said the proposed changes — while more palatable than the previous plan — still increase the danger and the cost for fishermen. Bernier said plenty of fishermen have thought of selling out but said they are just in too deep. Many would face bankruptcy if they did so,,, Video, >click to read< 06:20

‘It Sucks … But I’m Going To Try It’ — Officials Present Proposed New Gear Rules To Maine Lobstermen>click to read<

Maine proposes targeted exemptions to help lobster industry weather whale crisis>click to read<

MLA Decision Disappoints, NOAA will continue to work with the Maine lobster industry

Although the Maine lobster industry formally withdrew its support of the near consensus agreement, members of the Maine caucus have stated a willingness to continue to work with the agency, the Take Reduction Team, the state of Maine, and their members to identify measures that address the risk that the Maine lobster fishery poses to right whales. We stand ready to continue to assist Maine in whatever way possible to achieve the necessary level of risk reduction to these critically endangered whales.,, >click to read< 13:27

Massachusetts Lobstermen Test Ropeless Fishing Gear to Save Right Whales

Researchers say conservationists and the fishing industry must work together to save the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. Only about 400 of these whales are left living in the wild, and scientists say human activity is to blame. Proposed federal regulations,,, But these measures drastically reduce the number of lines lobstermen are allowed to have in the water. That’s why Massachusetts lobstermen are eager to try new technology that would enable them to set their traps without a vertical line. Patrick Ramage is director of marine conservation for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.,,, >click to read<10:33

Ropeless Fishing Gear Could Aid Maine’s Lobster Industry, Endangered Whales>click to read<

Lobstermen threatened with the extinction of their way of life

The word “extinction” has been thrown around a lot lately by environmental groups,,, Large, well-funded, out-of-state environmental groups would have you believe that these whales are going extinct and that Maine fishing gear entanglement is a major reason why. These groups have proposed things like ropeless fishing and refuse to believe that ideas like this are not practical in Maine. Can you imagine how a fisherman could set his 20- to 30-trap trawl into water 300 to 400 feet deep, not knowing where any of his competitors’ trawls might have been set days before? >click to read< 11:37

Ships are getting speeding tickets in the Chesapeake Bay to protect right whales

Eight years ago the COSCO Nagoya, a giant ship capable of carrying more than 4,000 cargo containers, was motoring around the Chesapeake Bay when it ran into a speed trap. Three months later, the Nagoya got dinged again for speeding, this time near the Port of Charleston. Over the next several months, the Nagoya was caught 13 more times up and down the east coast, from South Carolina to New York. Each speeding violation came with a price tag of $5,750 for a total of $86,250 in fines.  >click to read< 13:43

About 70 frustrated fishermen tell feds at a hearing in Machias that Canada, not Maine, is mostly to blame.

About 70 fishermen came to the first fisheries service public meeting in Maine on the latest round of lobster rule changes being considered to protect the endangered whales. They expressed safety fears and their mounting frustration. The state’s $485 million-a-year lobster industry is facing a federal mandate to lower the number of buoy lines in the Gulf of Maine by 50 percent to protect right whales.,,, >click to read< 12:09

101 lost snow crab traps, 9 km of rope removed from gulf to protect right whales

Federal fishery officers and Canadian Coast Guard crews have removed 101 lost snow crab traps and more than nine kilometres of associated rope from the Gulf of St. Lawrence as part of ongoing efforts to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales. The so-called ghost gear,,, Ropeless gear holds hope, Earlier this week, during a stop in Dieppe to discuss whale protection efforts, Jonathan Wilkinson,,, “But certainly from a fisheries perspective we see that as a very, very interesting way to address and separate the issues of fishing versus the whales.” >click to read< 21:36

Policymakers unite around lobstermen, By Reps. Billy Bob Faulkingham and Will Tuell

Unless you have had your head stuck in a bait pocket the past few months, you know by now that Maine’s lobster fishing industry is facing two major crises – a shortage of available and affordable bait, as well as a set of new rules and regulations designed to protect rare right whales while at the same time devastating the very fishermen who have fueled our local and state economy for generations.,,, That is why it is so refreshing to see folks across the political spectrum — arch foes on many things — united with fishermen (who themselves have been splintered over the years) to put our fishing industry first. >click to read<11:10

Mills comes out against ‘foolish’ federal regulations to protect right whales

Gov. Janet Mills is directing the Maine Department of Marine Resources to come up with an alternative to a federal plan to protect the endangered right whale from the state lobster industry, saying she won’t allow “foolish” regulations to make life harder for the state’s fishermen.,,, Some fishermen complained that it took Mills too long to come to their defense, and some worried her feisty tone might prompt federal regulators to take even more drastic action to protect the right whale, but many welcomed the support from the Blaine House.  “It’s nice to know the governor was listening to us,” said Cutler lobsterman Kristan Porter, the head of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.  >click to read< 18:30

Meetings Begin On New Lobster Gear Rules To Protect Right Whales

Maine lobstermen will meet with state marine resources officials in Trenton Tuesday evening to consider coming regulations that could force the industry to reduce by half the amount of fixed-gear trap rope placed in the ocean.,, Kristan Porter, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, says it’s a difficult but attainable goal, whether through reducing actual per-boat trap numbers or by sinking more traps per line in the water.,,, Tonight’s meeting of the Lobster Zone B Council starts at 6 p.m. at the Trenton Elementary School. The Department of Marine Resources has scheduled such meetings in each of the state’s seven lobster zones over the course of this month. >click to read<12:21

Maine DMR chief briefs Legislature on whales, bait

Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher briefed the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee on the latest news from the lobster bait and whale front. The news was not good. Speaking at a May 7 committee workshop, Keliher said the state was under severe pressure from NOAA Fisheries to find ways to reduce the number of vertical lines in the water that connect lobster traps to surface buoys. NOAA seeks a line reduction of more than 60 percent and wants it done soon. >click to read<11:21

DMF Rescinds Seasonal Large Whale Trap Gear Closure and Seasonal Speed Limit

Effective tomorrow, commercial and recreational lobstermen may set their trap gear in those waters north and east of Cape Cod that were previously closed to fixed gear. Additionally, boaters operating vessels that are smaller than 65’ over length may operate at a boat speed of greater than 10 knots. We advise that vessel operators continue to operate with caution. Through May 15th, vessels with an overall length of 65’ and greater shall comply with the federal 10 knot speed limit in the waters of Cape Cod Bay (federal rule). >click to read<20:31

UPDATED: Lobstermen rally in Plymouth to protest closure of fishing areas off cape Cod

Local lobstermen rallied here Thursday morning to protest the state’s decision to keep certain areas closed to fishing to protect an endangered species of whale. State officials said the “continued presence” of right whales in the waters off Cape Cod resulted in the Division of Marine Fisheries extending the seasonal closure to May 14. “This closure extension applies only in certain waters within Cape Cod Bay and along the Outer Cape,” state officials said in the statement. >click to read<This story will be updated. 10:12 Lobstermen rally against delay in opening season – >Video, click to read< 11:16

Division of Marine Fisheries – Seasonal Trap Gear Closure Extended Through May 14th

The continued presence of endangered right whales in the waters off Cape Cod results in the Director of the Division of Marine Fisheries extending the seasonal Large Whale Seasonal Trap Gear Closure through May 14, 2019 (Notice of Declaration)> click to read< This closure extension applies only in certain waters within Cape Cod Bay and along the Outer Cape.  Calanus plankton counts indicate that the whales are likely to remain aggregated and feeding in the area.,,,  This closure does not extend into any federal waters, including those waters north of Cape Cod on Stellwagen Bank. >click to read<16:03

Maine Lobstermen Face 50 percent Trap-Rope Reduction To Protect Right Whales

Representatives from 14 Atlantic coast states participated in the four-day consensus-building project, including fishermen scientists, state regulators and conservation groups. The stakes were highest for Maine’s lobster industry, which landed $484 million worth of the crustaceans last year – the most valuable single-species fishery in the nation. The Cape Cod Times reports that Massachusetts and New Hampshire agreed to a 30% cut in the number of vertical lines, and to use ropes that break at a reduced weight. “The regulations proposed here today are a big ask,” says Patrick Keliher, the commissioner of Maine’s Department of Marine Resources. >click to read<13:06

NOAA – Team Reaches Nearly Unanimous Consensus on Right Whale Survival Measures ->click to read<15:50

Mass Div. Marine Fisheries Advisory: Seasonal Trap Gear Closure Extended Through May 8th

The continued presence of endangered right whales off Cape Cod results in the Director of the Division of Marine Fisheries extending the seasonal Large Whale Seasonal Trap Gear Closure through May 8th (Notice of Declaration) for certain waters within Cape Cod Bay and along the Outer Cape. This extended closure only applies within those waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth within Cape Cod Bay south of 42° 8.42’ north latitude and east of Cape Cod north of 41° 51.5’ north latitude at Nauset Light (see map). >click to read<15:27

‘Lobster-Whale Work Group’ Faces Complicated Balancing Act As It Works To Protect Right Whales

Under pressure from lawsuits and the requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act, the federal government is closely reviewing the health of the right whale population, which is hovering around 410 animals. The result could be the imposition of new gear and other restrictions to reduce the risk of whale entanglement with the rope lobstermen use to position and haul their traps,,, a new “Lobster-Whale Work Group,” made up of state officials in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, has proposed a slate of possible actions with the dual goals of protecting the whales and the “viability and culture of the lobster fishery.” “We’re doing everything we can to appease the people who think it may be us,” says Stephen Train, a lobsterman in Long Island, Maine. >click to read<11:50

Whale entanglements exceeded average in 2017, report says

The number of large whales entangled in U.S. waters was a little worse than usual in 2017, but entanglements of right whales and in the Northeast were down. In a report released Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed 76 large whales were found entangled in fishing gear or marine debris in U.S. waters in 2017. Six of the 76 entangled whales were found dead, 45 were presumed to be alive but still entangled, four had freed themselves and 21 were freed by good samaritans or members of the national Large Whale Entanglement Response Network. >click to read<14:35

Ropes are latest flashpoint in tug of war over right whales

The lobster industry is willing to consider switching to weaker rope to protect the endangered right whale from deadly entanglements, but whale defenders say that doesn’t go far enough to help a species that can’t bear even one more death. A team of scientists, regulators, animal rights groups and fishermen met this week in Providence to review proposals,,, The team is advising the National Marine Fisheries Service on how to prevent whales from getting entangled in fishing gear as they migrate, feed and mate as they travel back and forth along the East Coast of the United States and Canada. >click to read<11:54

Regulators meet next week to consider actions to save right whales which could drastically change lobstering

Proposals to close the fishery in the western Gulf of Maine south of Cape Elizabeth during April, cut the number of seabed-to-surface lines that can entangle whales, and become a ropeless fishery by 2020 are among the ideas to be discussed next week in Providence, Rhode Island, by the team of scientists, fishing groups and animal rights activists tasked with saving the right whale from extinction.,,, In their proposal, The Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife and Center for Biological Diversity – which together sued the federal government for not doing more to protect whales from lobster gear – outline a fast-moving plan to transition to a ropeless fishery, requiring all new entrants to the federal fishery be rope-free by Jan. 1, and that all participants in any Atlantic trap or pot fishery, including Maine’s, use only ropeless gear by Jan. 1, 2020. >click to read<09:03

Bay of Fundy: Right whales trigger fishing area closure, gear must be removed from Grand Manan Basin by 6 p.m. Sunday

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced more fishing closures in the Atlantic region due to the presence of right whales. DFO said two right whales were spotted in the Grand Manan Basin — critical habitat area in the Bay of Fundy. The area will be closed to fishing beginning Sunday at 6 p.m. until further notice. All gear must be removed from the closed area before that time. The fisheries affected include groundfish species, herring, mackerel and lobster, DFO said. >click to read<15:05

DFO closes more fishing zones after right whale sighting

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has closed portions of four fishery grids after right whales were spotted in the area. The affected grids are in the extreme south of the speed reduction zone and will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday. The closure marks the 20th fishery closure this year related to the North Atlantic right whale. No right whales have been found dead in Canadian waters since last year but a right whale was spotted last week off Miscou Island partially entangled. It has not been spotted since. >click to read<18:33

Notice of fisheries closures – Fishermen told to remove gear from gulf areas to protect right whales

Fishermen have until Wednesday to get their gear out of the water in five newly closed fishing zones of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has gotten reports of North Atlantic Right Whales in the area prompting the closure of more fishing zones. DFO said crews must remove their gear by 5 p.m. AT on Wednesday, June 6. The next 24 hours will bring high winds, so DFO is allowing a longer notice than usual.  “All gear must be removed from the closed area before the time of closure,”>click to read<DFO notice>click here<08:04

Gulf of St. Lawrence – 6 fishing areas closing after 2 right whales spotted

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is temporarily closing several fishing areas in an effort to protect endangered right whales. In a tweet, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc said two North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off the coast of New Brunswick. The closures will take effect May 22 at 4 p.m. ​and all gear is expected to be removed from the water by that time. The closures are for the following fisheries: snow crab, toad crab, rock crab, lobster and whelk. The closures will also apply to winter flounder and Atlantic halibut, except where gear is not left unattended. >click to read<07:25

Injunction sought against lobster buoy lines

On Friday, Richard Maximus Strahan filed the emergency motion in U.S. District Court for a temporary restraining order to stop either the licensing or deploying of vertical bouy lines, arguing they routinely entangle the endangered whales, causing serious injury and death. The restraining order should be in effect until marine fisheries officials and the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association could show there are no more right whales, a migratory species, in the states coastal waters, according to the motion. >click to read< 08:58

New Bedford Port Authority, Mass Division of Marine Fisheries, NOAA weigh in through public comments regarding offshore wind

The New Bedford Port Authority, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and NOAA all filed written public comments regarding Vineyard Wind’s Environment Impact Statement. The deadline to file public comments was April 30. All three agencies cited concerns regarding offshore wind’s presence within an important region for commercial fishing as well as marine life that could be affected beyond the acute area. >click to read<10:43

Right whale rules trap fishermen

The federal government’s decision to extend rules protecting right whales to P.E.I.’s lobster fishermen sent waves of anxiety through the industry last week. The fishermen were reacting not only to the poor timing of the decision — coming just days before the lobster season’s opening on May 1 — but, more urgently, the prospect that their livelihood may dwindle if a right whale is spotted near a fishing vessel. Of course, the reasoning for these federal measures isn’t really at issue — no one is saying right whales shouldn’t be protected. >click to read<09:53

Setting Day: ‘One of my busiest days, stressful days, my exciting days of the year,’ says 22-year fishing veteran

Lobster fishermen at many Prince Edward Island harbours were busy getting their boats, traps and crew ready for the start of the spring season Monday. The tradition of the 6 a.m. start and the busy day of getting all the traps in the water for the first time each year is known as setting day. At Malpeque Harbour, on the northern part of the Island, it was a hive of activity Sunday as fishermen worked to get ready. >click to read<18:44

Fisheries minister meets with lobster industry today about disputed closures

Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc is in Moncton on Friday to meet with the lobster industry, after new rules introduced this week to protect endangered whales left fishermen in a state of shock and frustration.,, He suggested the measures were necessary to avoid a punitive response from the U.S. and to protect the lobster industry. “Under American law, if a country does not take every reasonable and possible step to protect these highly endangered marine mammals, the American government can decide, under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of the United States, that the remedy is to close the American border to imports of fish and seafood from that country, which would have a devastating effect.”>click to read<12:10