Tag Archives: North Atlantic right whale

Right whale spotted in Canadian waters, DFO imposes 15-day crab fishing closure

The first North Atlantic right whale of the season has been sighted in Canadian waters, triggering an early and localized snow crab fishery closure in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Observers flying in a plane spotted the whale Sunday afternoon northeast of the Magdalen Islands in the Cabot Strait.,, DFO said Monday it has responded. “This sighting has triggered a 15-day fishing closure in crab fishing area 12F,” the department said in a statement. Fishing area 12F is east of the Magdalen Islands. >click to read< 17:44

PEI fishermen to integrate ‘weak rope’ in 2023

Gear adjustments regarding the North Atlantic Right Whale for the 2021 fishing season are consistent with last year. Rope markings on fishing gear, first implemented in 2020, are designed to help pinpoint where right whale entanglements in gear take place. The fact there haven’t been any entanglements since the marking became mandatory is positive, Melanie Giffin, Program Planner with the PEI Fishermen’s Association, said. “It is kind of a good news story that we don’t know if they are working or not,” she said. According to Barre Campbell, DFO Media relations, there were no North Atlantic Right Whale entanglements or deaths reported in Canadian waters in 2020. However, there is a plan to follow,,, >click to read< 23:08

Births rates up among North Atlantic Right Whales

North Atlantic right whales gave birth over the winter in greater numbers than scientists have seen since 2015, an encouraging sign for researchers who became alarmed three years ago when the critically endangered species produced no known offspring at all. Survey teams spotted 17 newborn right whale calves swimming with their mothers offshore between Florida and North Carolina from December through March. One of those calves soon died after being hit a boat, a reminder of the high death rate for right whales that experts fear is outpacing births. >click to read< 08:58

Fishermen, DMR: New North Atlantic Right Whale regulations could cripple lobster industry

The proposal, released in late December 2020, includes measures like regional gear marking, breakaway rope, extra traps per trawl line and restrictions on certain fishing areas. But it is the emphasis placed on ropeless fishing traps that has officials at the Maine Department of Marine Resources most concerned. In its Biological Opinion regarding right whales and the fishing industry, NMFS identifies ropeless fishing as a solution, among others, to reduce whale entanglements that cause death or serious injury. DMR argues that ropeless gear is largely under-researched and unaffordable. DMR used EdgeTech traps to estimate cost increases associated with converting to ropeless fishing,,, An EdgeTech fishing unit costs $3,750,  >click to read< 19:36

#ShowUsTheRope – Blamed for Right Whale Entanglements, Lobstermen say Show us the rope!

Snow Cone has triggered an outcry of frustration from fishermen, who say they’re being unfairly blamed for the decline of the critically endangered species. On Wednesday, March 10, a team from Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies freed Snow Cone from 300 feet of rope. The center described the team’s success on its Facebook page, and used a photo from an aerial survey that shows the whale and the telltale rope from 1,000 feet in the air. “So, I remember seeing this,” said Nick Muto. The Facebook post said the retrieved rope likely came from a fishery, but there was no close-up picture. “So my hashtag, #ShowUsTheRope, is me trying to lay it right on the Center for Coastal Studies,” >click to read< 20:06

A Petition – Re examine the data of North Atlantic right whale entanglements and the Fishery closure

Meredith Cooney started this petition to Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker and 4 others. Currently there is a 3.5 month Massachusetts state water lobster fishery closure. Commercial lobster fisherman  feel like we have been taking the brunt of blame on right whale deaths in recent years. The fact is that our lobster gear (bouy lines) have not caused any documented right whale deaths ever. Please >read, and sign the petition< 14:00

Right whales: Public comments range from ‘save the whales’ to ‘save the fishermen’

Samuel Sautaux posted his comment from Lentigny, Switzerland, located north of the Alps. His comment is among about 171,208 received from individuals who live near and far from the right whales’ cruising grounds and posted an opinion on the latest federal effort to protect the species on the public comment page overseen by NOAA. These comments are now being processed,,, Some of the comments are quite succinct, as was Sautaux’s. Others are more elaborate – including one from an author who signs as a 69-year-old, sixth generation lobsterman from Maine who says the proposal amounts to a “death sentence” on the industry. >click to read< 07:16

Lobstermen say proposed Right Whale rules are expensive, dangerous, and based on outdated data

During the final public hearings, Maine Department of Marine Resource Commissioner Patrick Keliher echoed a statement put out by Gov. Janet Mills earlier that week stating that “a one-size-fits-all approach in the state of Maine will not work.” Fishermen and environmentalists voiced concerns over the science federal regulators were using to make decisions, including the number of right whales alive today, how many have been harmed by entanglements or struck by ships and the effectiveness of proposed gear changes.  “We all agree on one thing,” said Matt Gilley, a Harpswell lobsterman who spoke up at the virtual meeting. “That is that the data is flawed. In what direction, that remains to be seen.” >click to read< 11:10

Massachusetts Lobstermen fear end of their livelihood

Dan Pronk is worried a new set of proposed NOAA and NMFS restrictions aimed at saving the North Atlantic right whale could be the nail in the coffin for the lobstering industry on Nantucket. “We’ve got five years left of lobstering down here,” said Pronk, the only commercial lobsterman on Nantucket, and one of only a handful of lobstermen around the region with traps south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. “It’s career ending if they get their way. We’re bending over backwards to appease these people. >click to read< 13:28

N.E. Aquarium Scientists urge NOAA to consider more aggressive Right Whale steps

In response to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Proposed Rule to amend the regulations implementing the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to reduce the incidental mortality and serious injury to North Atlantic right whales, fin whales, and humpback whales in northeast commercial lobster and crab trap/pot fisheries to meet the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, the New England Aquarium submits this comment to express our strong reservations that the measures outlined in the Proposed Rule and accompanying Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) are not nearly aggressive enough to change the fate of North Atlantic right whales in U.S. waters. Based on our decades of NARW expertise, the Aquarium strongly urges NOAA to revise this Proposed Rule substantially before finalizing it. >click to read< 07:07

Enviro’s Lukewarm Reception For Canada Modifying Right Whale Protections

The Animal Welfare Institute has responded to the Canadian government’s recent decision to modify right whale protections, specifically concerning how they affect lobster and crab fishers. On the one hand, the institute welcomes and applauds the government commitment to “Whale Safe” ropeless fishing gear. However, it does not accept the promotion of weaker rope lines as a long-term solution for entanglement. >click to read< , with a link to the policy they oppose, unreasonably. 18:06

Lobster industry changes require more evidence on North Atlantic right whale deaths

Environmentalists and the lobster industry have rarely agreed on anything related to the effort to save the North Atlantic right whale. So when they do, people should pay attention. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now taking comment on its Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, aimed at reducing risk of rope entanglements and ship strikes to the endangered mammal by at least 60%. But members of both sides say no one has enough information to say that the sweeping changes would be effective. Our comment? Don’t pass a plan that puts the deaths of right whales on the backs of Maine lobstermen unless you can show that’s where it should be. >click to read< 08:14

Cryptic mortality – Human-caused North Atlantic right whale deaths are being undercounted

A study co-authored by scientists at the New England Aquarium has found that known deaths of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales represent a fraction of the true death toll. This comes as the death of a calf and recent sightings of entangled right whales off the southeastern United States raise alarm. The study, published this month in Conservation Science and Practice, analyzed cryptic mortality of right whales. Cryptic mortality refers to deaths resulting from human activities that do not result in an observed carcass. (what the,,,) >click to read< 11:58

“What I’m reading now being proposed by NOAA will essentially put me out of business,,,”

Lobsterman John Drouin said in his 42 years of fishing around Cutler, he has never seen a right whale. Many other Maine lobstermen have said the same thing about their experience on the water. But that may not matter.,,  he and Maine Marine Resources Commissioner Pat Keliher said the true threat in the NOAA documents would come in 10 years when scientists say the threat to whales should be reduced by 98 percent, effectively eliminating all lobster ropes and potentially ending the way they have fished for generations. “It’s devastating. Totally changes the face of the Maine lobster fishery,” said Keliher, “and we’d have no idea from an economic standpoint what it will mean in the long run.” >video, >click to read< 09:38

Right Whale – Wrong Data

This graph mistake turns this whole whale lobster debate on it’s head. They gauged their whole extinction claim on a population number that they figured from a birthrate curve overlaid on a population graph so naturally it looks like tons of whales are suddenly dying when the birthrate went down starting in 2010, one year after the record calving of 39 baby whales. 20 whales born in 2010, plus 7 more, attributed to their downward tracking line meant 27 whales died. Oddly nobody noticed this ridiculous mathematical blunder and for ten years they have been charging around wondering who was killing all these whales. >click to read< 19:29

P.E.I. lobster fishermen want exemption from new gear rule aimed at protecting whales

Island lobster fishermen should be be exempt from using gear designed to break free in the event of a whale entanglement, according to the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association (PEIFA). The PEIFA wrote a letter to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to request lobster fishermen be exempt from new rules, which are expected to become mandatory by the end of 2022. The group says sighting data shows the endangered North Atlantic right whale is rarely in P.E.I. lobster fishing grounds. >click to read< 10:46

New Protected Species Regulations Finalized for Fixed Gear Fisheries

New Protected Species Regulations Finalized for Fixed Gear Fisheries and Industry Outreach on Required Gear Modifications. This advisory serves to provide you with information regarding new protected species regulations. More details on each new regulatory provision are provided in the bullets below. Seasonal Commercial Trap Closure, Gillnet Closure, Weak Rope Requirements for Comm. Trap Gear, DMF’s ongoing efforts to protect the North Atlantic right whale.,,  >Click to read< 18:55

Evidence shows Maine lobster gear has not contributed to decline in Right whale population

In today’s world, it is hard to discern truth from opinion, or fact from calculated lies.,, The fact is also that no documented right whale death has ever been attributed to Maine lobstermen. There has only been one known entanglement in the past 20 years (2012). That whale was disentangled and set free.,,, The combination of ship strikes and snow crab gear entanglement was catastrophic, but had nothing to do with Maine lobster gear. The “guilt by association” assumption by environmental groups and NOAA/NMFS is unwarranted and unacceptable. By Jack Merrill. >click to read< 07:55

Ropeless Fishing Shows Promise, But There’s a Catch: Financial, Safety, Technology Challenges

On a cold January morning, a lobster trap sitting on a table at a manufacturing facility in Wareham is rhythmically beeping. Two final beeps have a special meaning. “So that’s the release confirmation,” explained Rob Morris, who sells acoustic release systems for the underwater technology company EdgeTech.  These “ropeless” systems do away with the high number of vertical lines that run from buoys on the surface down to traps on the ocean floor. Looking at this table, Morris sees the future of the fishery, and many conservationists share that hope. Ropeless fishing eliminates vertical lines in the water column that are blamed for around half of all reported North Atlantic right whale deaths. >click to read< 10:22

Maine delegation requests comment period extension for BiOp with profound impact on Maine lobstermen

The BiOp is an assessment of a federal agency’s impact on an endangered species. In this case, the Biological Opinion assesses the effectiveness of regulations that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has imposed on the Maine lobster fishery to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale. Maine lobstermen have already taken significant steps to protect the right whale, despite there being no direct evidence that a single right whale serious injury or mortality has been attributable to the Gulf of Maine or Georges Bank lobster fishery since 2004. >click to read< 09:29

Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission bans inshore lobstering during whale migration

Meeting via webinar, the MFAC overwhelmingly approved five of the six recommendations presented by the state Division of Marine Fisheries, setting the stage for a hectic start to the state’s 2021 lobster fishing season.,, A Feb. 1 to May 15 closure to commercial trap gear in all state waters,, weaker buoy lines,, A Jan. 15 to May 15 gillnet closure in Cape Cod Bay,, All but one of the approved measures passed on unanimous 8-0 votes. The exception was the recommendation for the Feb. 1 to May 15 commercial trap gear closure in all state waters. The lone dissenting vote on the measure came from longtime Gloucester lobsterman Arthur “Sooky” Sawyer, “I can’t support this motion. The Massachusetts inshore lobster fishery has never killed a right whale. I’m voting no.” >click to read< 18:35

Canadian Space Agency to use satellite data to track North Atlantic right whales

The Canadian Space Agency is harnessing satellite technology to monitor and protect endangered North Atlantic right whales in the country’s waters. The agency said Tuesday it will lead a $5.3-million project funded by the federal government called smartWhales, which will use satellites to detect the presence of right whales and to predict the animals’ movements. Canada is giving a total of $5.3 million over three years to five companies for a series of projects to help protect the endangered species. One of the projects will involve a system that can rapidly provide location data and detect if the whales are approaching a fishing vessel. >click to read< 18:05

Lobstermen react to proposed NOAA rule

A Jan. 20 public meeting on the latest proposal to reduce the risk of whale entanglements in fishing lines focused on northern and eastern Maine lobster fishing. At this latest meeting, local lobstermen echoed similar concerns they aired when discussions started two years ago: NOAA is relying on incomplete and outdated data, and fishermen are not seeing right whales in Maine waters. NOAA scientists agree that more data would be useful. >click to read< 08:19

Enviros sue for North Atlantic Right Whale protections from ship strikes

Four conservation groups filed an injunction in a Washington, D.C., court last week asking the National Marine Fisheries Service to expand its efforts to protect right whales and their calves from being hit by ships. Although entanglement in fishing lines gets a lot of headlines, ship strikes have emerged as a prime killer of the right whales, whose numbers have dropped from a peak of 481 in 2011 to 356 this year. Eleven calves, including two that were spotted Wednesday off Amelia Island, Florida, so far this calving season are not accounted for in that estimate. >click to read< 09:50

North Atlantic Right Whales – Proposed Pot/Trap Fisheries Regulations – Available for Public Comment

Today, we released our proposed modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to further reduce the impacts of entanglement in fishing gear on right whales in U.S. waters. The proposed modifications focus on the Northeast Jonah crab and lobster trap/pot fisheries, which deploy about 93 percent of the buoy lines fished in areas where right whales occur. In 2021, the team will be asked to recommend risk reduction measures for other Atlantic trap/pot and gillnet fisheries. We also released the associated Draft Environmental Impact Statement. >click to read< 12:02

Proposed Modifications revealed to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan

Today, we released our proposed modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to further reduce the impacts of entanglement in fishing gear on right whales in U.S. waters.,,, In 2021, the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team will be asked to recommend risk reduction measures for other Atlantic trap/pot and gillnet fisheries. We opened a public comment period on both of these documents. >click to read<  Statement from Commissioner Keliher on Today’s Proposed Whale Regulation Announcement by NOAA>click to read< 10:58

Livelihoods Threatened: Massachusetts lobstermen concerned about proposed regulations to protect whales

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is proposing multiple amendments to current rules regulating fixed gear fisheries in an effort to protect an the North Atlantic right whale. Two local lobstermen say the proposed regulations threaten their livelihoods. “It’s gonna take roughly 30% of my income away from me,” said Dave Magee,,, Tom Tomkiewicz, a Fairhaven lobsterman, was not sold on the regulation, the regulations could cut 30% of his catch and up to 50% of his income,,,  “All the bait guys, the marine supply guys, the shipyards, down to the restaurants we go to once or twice a week. We’re not going to be able to go because we won’t have the money. It’s going to affect a lot of people not even involved.” >click to read< 13:07

Scientists cast doubt on seismic testing environmental mitigations in N.L.’s offshore

Jack Lawson spent part of this past summer listening for whales around Newfoundland, using recorders moored underwater to track their movements and hear what man-made sounds they may encounter. “All you can hear 24 hours a day, for months on end, every 10 seconds is the boom of a seismic array going off at various distances from our acoustic receivers, and this has made it very hard for us to detect some species, The guns make it hard for Lawson and his team’s recorders, with the technology confusing the pulsing calls of right whales with seismic activity in the distance,  DFO scientists thought they’d recorded tens of thousands of instances of right whale calls in the Flemish Pass in 2019, Lawson said. “[But] when we actually went through and manually reviewed these, none of them turned out to be real.” >click to read< 10:41

Massachusetts Lobstermen Raise Concerns Over Proposed Whale Regulations

At a public hearing on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared its recommendations to extend a seasonal commercial gear closure to areas north and east of the Cape from February 1 through April 30. “I’m just trying to plan for the future of fisheries. I mean, if we have a closure this will really close down the state to any type of income,” said Mike Lane, a fisherman who asked whether the state would require modifications to other kinds of fishing gear. Officials were unable to provide an economic impact report based on these recommendations,,, (someone that was there said there was a lot of ropeless chatter) >click to read< 07:30

No North Atlantic Right Whale Deaths In Canadian Waters This Year

It has been a good year for the endangered North Atlantic right whale in Canadian waters. Federal officials say no deaths or new entanglements have been reported to date. The government credits “significant” action taken to help protect the whale. A new season-long fishing area closure protocol was introduced in the Gulf of St. Lawrence based on where whales were detected. Fisheries and Oceans Canada also expanded the scope of where temporary and season-long closures were applied. >click to read< 15:50