Tag Archives: North Atlantic right whales

NOAA answers lobstermen’s critique of whale rules science

NOAA Fisheries released a more detailed response Wednesday to criticisms of the science it used to develop new protections for North Atlantic right whales,,, The response was attached to a letter from NOAA assistant administrator Chris Oliver to Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. (The letter is attached at the article) >click to read< 14:50

Moulton praises local lobsterers for staying at whale rule table at a teleconference they were’nt invited to

U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton on Monday called the Maine Lobstermen’s Association shortsighted for stepping away,,, “It limits their involvement in the solution going forward,” Moulton said on a teleconference organized by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.,,, Monday’s teleconference was billed as an opportunity,,, The sole discussion on technology Monday centered on ropeless fishing gear. The panel, included two IFAW staffers and Rob Morris, a sales engineer with EdgeTech, a company that has developed a ropeless gear fishing system. No fishermen were represented. “We did not extend an invitation,” Ramage said. >click to read< 08:08

Like chasing unicorns?!! – Ropeless traps not easy for crabbers testing them in whale-protection effort

New Brunswick snow crab fishermen have been testing a ropeless trap system to reduce the use of fishing rope, which has been blamed in some of the deaths of endangered North Atlantic right whales. “The main problem with the ropeless gear … is that it was given way too much credit for what it can, at this time, achieve for the snow crab fishery,” Robert Haché, director general of the Acadian Crabbers Association, said in an interview.,, The ropeless traps, developed by California-based Desert Star System, are already used by fishermen in New Zealand and Australia. >click to read< 08:18

Marine Mammal Protection Act: Incidental Harassment Authorization Regulatory “Takes” – Take a Close Look

An IHA is a legal and enforceable document presenting the terms and conditions with which a company must adhere in order to protect wildlife. In this case, the draft IHA was for Vineyard Wind, the wind energy company ready to start construction on an 800 MW offshore wind farm in the Atlantic, covering about 675 square kilometers, starting 14 miles from the coastline of Martha’s Vineyard.,,, An IHA is required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) because, obviously, a huge project like this has impacts and it’s likely that “take” of marine mammals will occur during construction. >click to read< 08:26

Rope free traps? Company studies ways for fishing nets and whales to coexist.

“It’s promising and many people are asking why we don’t use it right away — but it’s still in the scientific testing phase, with tests being done in the water and it has not yet been adapted for commercial fishing,” Cormier explained. In some trials, the buoy took up to 30 minutes to surface; in other cases it never surfaced. “There is still work to be done as far as the reliability of the equipment,” he said. “We don’t want to create another problem, that of ghost fishing.” >click to read< 09:49

How Ship Strikes Have Become The Greatest Threat To Right Whales

This is the first of a two-part report explaining how vessel strikes happen, why they’re increasing and what’s being done to stop them. In the last month, eight North Atlantic right whales have been found dead in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence, including two members of the critically endangered species this past week. Canadian authorities say work to determine these new whales’ cause of death is ongoing. Whatever the cause of these latest deaths, researchers worry collisions with ships are increasingly to blame. >click to read<  20:24

International shipping industry under increased scrutiny as whale death toll grows

The shipping industry is under increased scrutiny after two cargo ships were fined for sailing too fast through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where the rising death toll among endangered North Atlantic right whales has been partly blamed on collisions with vessels. There have been eight deaths reported since early June, and examinations of five of the carcasses showed three of them had injuries consistent with ship strikes, a leading cause of death for these rare mammals. 227 vessels exceeded speed limit in 3 months >click to read< 11:23

Experts track right whale behavior in new trouble spot

Scientists from the U.S. and Canada have returned from a North Atlantic right whale survey trip in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence where they found dense reserves of zooplankton that have drawn 70 or more of the critically endangered marine mammals to the region this summer. They now expect the right whales to move farther north in the coming summers to follow the movement of the food they consume,,, Many of the right whales that visit Cape Cod Bay and south of the islands in the late winter and early spring migrate northward as they follow the movement of zooplankton, especially a rice-sized copepod called calanus. >click to read< 09:58

More needs to be done to identify travel paths of North Atlantic right whales, scientist says

The Canadian and U.S. governments need to know exactly where North Atlantic right whales are travelling to better protect them, a whale researcher says. “There have been whales in locations that the Canadian government may not have known about, at least early enough, ” said Charles (Stormy) Mayo, director of the North Atlantic Right Whale Ecology program at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Mass. “It’s a very thorny problem and the more that Canada can do, the better off we are.” >click to read< 20:29

Ropeless Fishing: ‘We’ve got to do our part’ to prevent right whale deaths, Yes! Slow ships down

As a Halifax-based company seeks input from the fishing community for a prototype of ropeless fishing gear, a New Brunswick fisherman has another idea about how to decrease the dangers to North Atlantic right whales. “People should slow down and be more careful,” says lobster fisherman Jean-Guy Gallant.,,, While Gallant fishes the Northumberland Strait – which is not in the same area several of the endangered whales have been found dead – he says he has concerns about going ropeless. “What happens if the mechanism doesn’t work?” he asks. “The trap will stay on the bottom so we won’t be able to fish it.” >click to read<

Nantucket group protests draft authorization for Vineyard Wind

ACK Residents Against Turbines, a group of more than 100 citizens, claims that federal regulators favor offshore wind over commercial fishing and intend to allow serious harm to endangered North Atlantic right whales. “This process is moving too fast, and everyone needs to slow down and make sure we aren’t creating problems for the North Atlantic right whale that can’t be reversed,” Vallorie Oliver of ACK Residents Against Turbines said Tuesday. “This particular animal is clearly struggling, yet it appears that the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, in their rush to clear the path for Vineyard Wind, are forgetting their obligation to protect the whale.” >click to read< 16:42

Transport Canada – New protective measures announced for North Atlantic right whales

Transport Canada has announced further protective measures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the North Atlantic right whale. The measures, announced Monday evening, include further reducing ship speeds in the area, increasing zones in which the speed restrictions will apply, increasing aerial surveillance and funding for initiatives to enhance marine mammal response. In 2019, there have been six whale deaths reported and on July 8, there were three North Atlantic right whales entangled in the southern waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence,,, >click to read<21:03

Vineyard Wind seeks help in protecting right whales! Really??? Let me help. Don’t build it!

Are you really that concerned about the whales, wind farmers? Don’t build it, and vacate the “project”. I suspect some disgusting politicians are making noise about saving the whales to avoid the political damage of enraged whale lovers watching “Big Green” Energy disrupt them, or possibly even kill them! It’s urgent! AOC says we only got then years left to save,,,- The company preparing to build an 84-turbine wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard has put out a call to universities, technology companies and other innovators that could help implement a system to detect the presence of endangered North Atlantic right whales during construction. >click to read<10:43

New Brunswick fishermen get $2M to test gear to prevent whale entanglements

Snow crab fishermen in northern New Brunswick are getting more than $2 million over three years to help test technologies aimed at reducing the risks of North Atlantic right whale entanglements in fishing gear.The funding for the Acadian Crabbers Association comes through the $400-million Atlantic Fisheries Fund, which is jointly funded by Ottawa and the region’s provincial governments. >click to read<17:08

NOAA Team Reaches Consensus on Right Whale Survival Measures

“This is hard work. The Team members brought not only their expertise but also their passion for the people and communities they represent to the table. Everyone understands that there are real and difficult consequences to fishermen as a result of the choices made in this room,” said Sam Rauch, NOAA Fisheries deputy assistant administrator for regulatory programs.,,, The group will meet in Providence, Rhode Island for four days. At the end of the meeting, they hope to agree on a suite of measures that will reduce right whale serious injuries and deaths in fishing gear in U.S. waters from Maine to Florida to less than one whale per year, the level prescribed by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. >click to read<09:15

EDITORIAL: Continued suspension of snow crab fishery’s MSC certification seems excessive

Southern Gulf snow crab fishermen took on new challenges of reduced fishing area and temporary closures last year all for the sake of protecting North Atlantic right whales from potential entanglement in fishing gear. They made changes to their gear, too, and their efforts were successful. There were no reported deaths of endangered North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters in 2018. That’s in sharp contrast to the unprecedented 12 documented deaths in Canadian waters in 2017. But it’s still not good enough for the Marine Stewardship Council. >click to read<17:32

Government of Canada awards aerial surveillance contract in St John’s to improve conservation and protection of our oceans

Making our oceans and our coasts healthier and safer, as well as ensuring our Indigenous, commercial, and recreational fisheries remain sustainable, are priorities for the Government of Canada. Through patrol and enforcement of our laws, Canada continues to protect our oceans, marine life and fisheries from coast to coast to coast. Today, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, announced that the Government of Canada is awarding a five-year, $128 million contract,,, They will also help enforce the measures put in place by the Government of Canada to protect our endangered whales. This includes monitoring the Gulf of St. Laurence for compliance of the recently-announced fisheries management measures for North Atlantic right whales, as well as monitoring critical habitat areas for Southern Resident killer whales and enforcing fisheries management measures for their primary prey, Chinook salmon. >click to read<22:21

Canada: Scientist, fishermen applaud loosening of whale-protection restrictions

The federal government is easing restrictions aimed at protecting North Atlantic right whales based on data from last year, when no whales were found dead in Canadian waters. Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Transport Minister Marc Garneau were in Shippagan on Thursday to announce the changes, which include reducing the area that is out of bounds to fishermen.,, Lobster and crab fishing will not be allowed in the static-closure zone, where 90 per cent of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence were sighted last year. >click to read<21:45

Vineyard Wind, Con Groups Reach Historic Agreement to Protect Right Whales

Vineyard Wind and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation, and Conservation Law Foundation today entered into an unprecedented agreement to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. Under the historic agreement, Vineyard Wind will institute a variety of protective measures to keep right whales safe while installing and operating turbines at its proposed 84-turbine project off the coast of Massachusetts. Harnessing offshore wind is a key step in transitioning the nation away from dirty, polluting fossil fuels to a clean energy economy. (Plenty of Fraudsters here!) >click to read<13:55

This Lobster Trap Aims to Protect Endangered Whales — and Fishers’ Livelihoods

So a team of conservation-minded engineers set about finding a solution for the problem of right whale entanglements—while also keeping in mind the needs of lobster fishing families. The winners of last year’s Make for the Planet Borneo hackathon at the 5th annual International Marine Conservation Congress came up with a device they dubbed the Lobster Lift. Here’s how it works: At its essence,,,, >click to read<12:03

NOAA Calls for Protection of Female North Atlantic Right Whales

NOAA Fisheries researchers and colleagues are taking a closer look as to why the endangered western North Atlantic right whale population is growing at far more slower rate than that of southern right whales, a sister species also recovering from near extinction by commercial whaling. Researchers and colleagues looked at the question and have concluded that preserving the lives of adult females in the population is the most effective way to promote population growth and recovery. Most of these deaths are attributed to entanglement in fishing gear and collisions with ships. The findings are reported in Royal Society Open Science. >click to read<17:37

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