Tag Archives: right whales

NMFS: Maine’s proposal to keep right whales from getting entangled in lobstering gear doesn’t go far enough

The National Marine Fisheries Service has concluded that Maine’s plan to use a combination of weak rope and a 25 percent reduction in the number of buoy lines in state waters achieves, at best, a 52 percent risk reduction, while federal regulators are demanding a 60 percent reduction. “Because your proposal does not meet the 60 percent risk reduction target, we will be obligated to consider additional measures through our federal rulemaking,” said Michael Pentony, regional administrator of NMFS’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. includes letter, >click to read< 08:09

Further protection measures coming to protect North Atlantic right whales

Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says Ottawa will announce further measures in the coming weeks to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Speaking to a fishing gear innovation summit in Halifax today, Jordan didn’t release any details of the coming measures.,, The minister says testing also continues on new technology such as ropeless gear, which could help reduce the risk of entanglements for whales. More than 250 harvesters and fishing gear manufacturers from Canada, the United States, Iceland and Norway are attending the two-day summit. >click to read< 12:50

Race is on to get East Coast crab boats on the water before right whales return

The Canadian Coast Guard committed Tuesday to doing all it can to help East Coast crab fishermen get on the water before the right whales arrive in the area. “What we’re trying to do now is assist the fishermen to get out as soon as they can by opening the harbours as soon as we can,”Carter Hutt, president pf the Prince Edward Island Snowcrab Association said in a phone interview that it is best if all fishermen get to go fishing at the same time, so that the fish plants have enough product to reach peak production,, >click to read< 10:25

Federal regulations to protect right whales are delayed until at least this summer

Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is responsible for protecting the critically endangered species, had planned to issue the regulations last year. But they were delayed after months of criticism from the region’s powerful lobster industry, which is worried that new requirements could be harsh and expensive. >click to read< 18:03

Canada imposing mandatory gear marking for lobster, and crab fisheries in 2020

Specially coloured rope will become mandatory with the start of the season in every lobster and crab fishery in Eastern Canada. The rope must identify the region, species being fished and individual fishing area. The requirement is also intended to maintain access to the United States seafood market by demonstrating Canada has rules comparable to those in place for American fishermen. >click to read< 07:20

Editorial: Without ‘share the seas’ pact, Canada risks crab boycott

We can’t wait until the boycott is unleashed, as Canada did with the Brigitte Bardot/Greenpeace-led boycott of seal products. Then it’s too late. Public opinion, once formed, is often impossible to rewind. The European Union is no longer interested in seeing seal products for sale in Europe, and with that, the entire predatory hierarchy of the Gulf was thrown off kilter and remains so to this day. Human beings are predators. Remove the largest predator from an ecosystem and there will be an immediate problem, as was demonstrated here. We risk the same kind of disaster with the crab fishery if the Canadian government does not take the American threat seriously. by Clive Doucet  >click to read<  08:13

Senator Warren wants proof Canada is doing as much as the U.S. to protect right whales

Canada is defending measures it has taken to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, as political pressure and blame mounts from the United States in the wake of a rash of whale deaths in Canadian waters in 2019. “We’re very confident that our measures are world-class in nature and stand up extremely well to those in the United States,” said Adam Burns, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ director of resource management. Burns was responding to the latest salvo from Massachusetts senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, who are threatening a ban of some Atlantic Canadian seafood products. >click to read< 19:08

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