Tag Archives: North Atlantic right whales

NOAA/NMFS Ignores Dangerous Sound Levels from Pile Driving – By Jim Lovgren

A new recently released report from Rand Acoustics, LLC scientifically documented that the stated sound levels created by the pile driving of wind turbine stanchions into the seafloor is much louder than the NOAA approved levels. In a study dated November 2, 2023, the researchers used acoustic listening devises to record the underwater sounds being created from piledriving by the crane ship “Orion” in the Vineyard wind BOEM lease area OCS-A 0501 southwest of Nantucket Island. Prior to this research, Rand Acoustics documented the underwater sound levels being produced by some of the research vessels using sonar and seismic devises to examine and document the seafloor prior to turbine construction. This research proved that the sound levels produced by these research vessels exceeded the stated sound levels approved by NOAA/NMFS to protect marine mammals and resulted in the documentary film “Thrown to the wind”.  more, >>click to read<< 11:28

Maine Lobstermen’s Association Releases Statement on Final Wind Energy Area

“The Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) appreciates that BOEM’s Final Wind Energy Area (WEA) removes Lobster Management Area 1. “MLA worked tirelessly with Maine’s fishing industry, our congressional delegation, and Governor Mills to ensure prime lobster fishing grounds are spared from industrial development. We are proud that so many lobstermen have constructively engaged in this process and grateful that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has listened to their concerns. “But there is still much work to do. Secondary Area C, an area where many endangered North Atlantic right whales are sighted, is included in the Final Wind Energy Area. MLA remains steadfast in its position that no area of the Gulf of Maine should be industrialized with offshore wind. There are still too many unanswered questions about the impacts of offshore wind on the marine environment, commercial fishermen and our fishing heritage.” https://www.mainelobstermen.org/ 12:57

Maine Lobstermen’s Association tallies its victories, future risks at annual meeting

“Every year, there is a new issue facing the industry,” Tristan Porter, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA), said as the trade organization opened its 70th annual meeting during the Maine Fishermen’s Forum on March 1. For lobstermen and the commercial lobster fishery, there are three big issues facing the industry: protecting North Atlantic right whales, maintaining a sustainable fishery and the federal leasing in the Gulf of Maine for floating offshore wind energy — plus the myriad of federal and state regulations and public hearings and, at times, lawsuits, that go with them. 8 photos, more, >>click to read<< 08:44

War On Maine’s Lobstermen?

If you want an emblem of the “man’s man,” larger than life, daring and doing, self-reliant, depend-on-nature, a make-it-happen guy, who rises with the dawn, works hard, asks little, wants little, values independence, and will never fly a desk… that’s the Maine lobsterman or woodsman. Now, they are being scapegoated for wind farms – or some other cause – apparently killing Right whales. Go figure. A more cynical irony is hard to imagine. The wind subsidy crowd, sure they will make money off the taxpayer-funded “green wave” with gold at the end of a government-funded rainbow, has decided – in Washington and “activist cells” around America – to hit Maine’s lobstermen. Wrong. more, >>click to read<< by Robert B. Charles 07:17

Maine DMR Receives $17 Million to Support Maine’s Lobster Industry, Improve Flawed Right Whale Data

Governor Janet Mills and Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Commissioner Patrick Keliher today announced that Maine has received $17,252,551 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help improve data on endangered North Atlantic right whales (NARW). The money was the result of The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed by Congress in December of 2022 which established a $26 million fund for states with lobster fisheries.  This fund is administered by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission which divided the money among states based on active lobster harvesters. “The goal of this research is to collect data that tells us what is happening in the Gulf of Maine, so we can be protective of whales in a way that also doesn’t devastate Maine’s critically important lobster industry,” said DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher. more,>>Click to read<< 16:52

Will small boats soon have to slow down off NC to protect North Atlantic Right Whales?

Vessel speed limits to help avoid fatal collisions between ships and one of the most endangered animals in the world that has fallen to around 350 individuals have gone back into effect off the U.S. Southeastern coast, including parts of North Carolina. The seasonal-management areas, or SMAs, limit the speed of most vessels 65 feet or longer to 10 knots, about 11.5 mph, in areas known to have heavy ship traffic that are also migratory routes or known calving grounds for the North Atlantic right whale. The go-slow zones, which run from November through April and have been in effect for more than a decade, extend about 20 nautical miles, or 23 miles, offshore and include areas around Morehead City and Beaufort and within 23 miles from shore between Wilmington and Brunswick, Ga. >>click to read<< 15:46

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $82 Million For Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

Today, the Department of Commerce and NOAA announced next steps to conserve and recover endangered North Atlantic right whales with $82 million in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act — the largest climate and conservation investment in history. This announcement comes during Climate Week and is part of the $2.6 billion framework to invest in coastal resilience that NOAA announced earlier this year. North Atlantic right whales are approaching extinction with fewer than 350 individuals remaining, including fewer than 70 reproductively active females. Today’s funding provides an unprecedented opportunity to address the primary threats to the species — entanglements in fishing gear and vessel strikes — with new technologies and approaches. >>click to read<< 12:41

Experts fear American fishing industry, boating at risk as Biden prioritizes climate, green energy

The Biden administration has prioritized green energy at the expense of endangered whales and the U.S. fishing industry with regulation that limits both commercial fishing and recreational boating, according to experts. As they are imposing more regulations, they are also promoting offshore wind, which is actually harming commercial and recreational boating and potentially killing whales, Brady and Lapp said.  “They positioned us as being these evildoers and now, 20 years later, whales are dropping dead like pigeons in Manhattan,” Brady said. “Here commercial fishermen and coastal communities are at the front line of fighting to protect the ocean itself, and we have crickets from virtually every NGO.” Video, >>click to read<< 09:09

Green Groups Turn a Blind Eye to Mysterious Increase in Whale Deaths

Several environmentalist groups campaign against offshore oil and gas projects because of their ecological impacts, but those same groups appear to apply less scrutiny to the potential impacts of offshore wind developments. The Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Greenpeace have all advocated for East Coast offshore wind projects amid the increase in whale deaths after slamming offshore oil and gas projects for their environmental impacts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has declared “unusual mortality events” for humpback and North Atlantic right whales since 2016 and 2017, respectively, a timeline which generally coincides with the start of offshore wind development off of the East Coast in 2016, according to NOAA’s website. >>click to read<< 12:09

Save the whales? In Massachusetts, today’s greenies kill the whales

Once upon a time, the greenie left waxed poetic and went full scold to the rest of us about saving the whales. Today? They’re doing the opposite. Take a look at what’s going on off the coast of Massachusetts, where the rare right whales in its waters are dying left and right: More than a century ago, the discovery of oil in Pennsylvania and then its development into the fossil fuel industry was praised and credited for saving the right whale, and other whales, whose populations had been decimated by hunting derived from the need for whale oil. Now, with the shunning of the fossil fuel industry in favor of greenie wind farms, the right whale is once again facing the same kind of danger, not for whale oil — but for the greenie dream, which always turns out to be dead and brown. Video, >click to read< 11:53

Fall lobster fishers hoping for a prosperous season

“We always look forward to going fishing,” said Mark Arsenault, president of the Prince County Fishermen’s Association. “It’s a gamble, you look to see if you’ve got a winning hand or not.” While prices have been looking good in the lead up to the season that starts on Aug. 9, one concern on the minds of fishers is if there will be any more grid closures should any more North Atlantic Right Whales be spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. “There’s an area that’s closed and it looks like it’s going to be closed until November,” said Mr Arsenault. “It’s deep water, from the 24/25 line to probably close to Miminegash. We’re trying to get a two week closure instead of a seasonal closure, but time will tell how that will go.” >click to read< 08:54

A discussion – Costs of using ropeless fishing gear could sink MA lobster fishery: new report

Experts often say the lobster fishery will have to move to innovative “ropeless” fishing gear to protect North Atlantic right whales from entanglement. There fewer than 340 of the critically endangered whales left. But a new report says Massachusetts lobstermen may be headed for troubled economic waters if they make the switch. But here’s what’s really crazy: the state found that even if lobstermen were just given the on-demand gear for free, using government and nonprofit subsidies, they would still go from making $15 million per year in revenue to just $2 million in revenue per year. And the biggest impacts would be on smaller, more independent operators. I talked to the report author about this, Noah Oppenhiem. He said for lobstermen that only fish only a couple traps per vertical line, they’d go from needing 6 and a half minutes to haul up some lobsters to 11 and a half minutes. >click to read< 11:56

Mass DMF’s On-Demand Fishing Gear Economic Modeling Report Released – >Click to read<

Mass DMF’s On-Demand Fishing Gear Economic Modeling Report Released

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has completed the second phase of a two-year project, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to develop the first-of-its-kind evaluation of the operational costs of on-demand fishing gear technology by Massachusetts lobster fishermen. On-demand fishing gear, commonly known as ropeless fishing gear, replaces traditional vertical buoy lines, which can result in entanglements with marine mammals including North Atlantic right whales, with new gear retrieval and marking methods. Most on-demand fishing gear systems consist of submerged buoyancy devices that are activated using time-release mechanisms or acoustic signals transmitted from the surface. Click the links inside for the report. >click to read< 15:47

Lobster industry says regulations to save right whales will push them out of business

Lobsters support about 15,000 jobs and contribute more than a billion dollars to the Maine economy. And yet the industry sees itself in an existential battle, pitted against a rare species fighting its own existential battle. North Atlantic right whales, critically endangered, fewer than 350 individuals remain. And they are dying at a devastating rate. Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator of Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: If we don’t stabilize and begin the recovery, they will be gone within a couple of decades. They will be extinct. They will be wiped off this Earth. And we want to do everything we can to prevent that from happening. >video< 10:30

After court victory, Maine lobster industry expects status quo for a few more years

The Maine lobster industry scored a major victory last month, when a federal appeals court ruled that the scientific assumptions used to regulate fishing and protect endangered North Atlantic right whales went too far. That means the status quo for Maine fishermen should remain for several more years. “The gear markings, weak links and other steps the fishery has taken in attempt to reduce entanglement risks will stay in place for the foreseeable future,” says Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. >click to read< 09:35

Offshore wind proponents, critics square off at Atlantic Shores hearing

Both proponents and critics of New Jersey offshore wind power generation faced off on Monday during a hearing for a project, that if approved, would construct up to 200 wind turbines less than 9 miles off the Jersey Shore. Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, a project by the power companies Shell and EDF Renewables North America, promises to power about 700,000 homes in New Jersey through the construction of up to 200 ocean wind turbines. Supporters of the project say Atlantic Shores and other offshore wind projects are needed to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are contributing to ocean warming, acidification, coastal flooding and stronger storms. But opponents of the project say it amounts to industrialization of the Atlantic Ocean and will irreparably harm a delicate coastal ecosystem. They argue Atlantic Shores will eliminate crucial scallop and oyster beds to commercial fishing and ruin the ocean view on which local tourism depends. Video, >click to read< 15:06

This fishing gear can help save whales. What will it take for fishermen to use it?

Fishing boats would normally still be unloading Dungeness crabs at San Francisco’s fisherman’s wharf in May. This year, the docks were quiet, except for one berth. “We’re the only boat right now,” says Brand Little, standing next to a large tank of bright red crabs on the deck of his boat, the Pale Horse. State regulators closed the Dungeness season two months early this year, due to the arrival of humpback whales in the area. On both the East and West Coasts, crab and lobster fishermen are seeing their fishing seasons shrink over concerns that whales are getting entangled in the long ropes attached to their gear, accidents that often end up injuring or killing the animals. Photos, >click to read< 08:08

Federal judges: Data does not prove Maine lobstering endangers whales

Friday, a panel of judges ruled that data on entanglements in lobster fishing gear does not support the need for the new strict limits on where and how lobstermen could fish. Those regulations, set by the National Marine Fisheries Service, were put in place under the authority of the Endangered Species Act to protect the 340 North Atlantic Right Whales whales left. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association says there is no evidence of Maine lobster gear ever killing a whale. There has been no documented entanglement of a North Atlantic Right Whale since 2004. “Every lobsterman in Maine was facing a decision of whether or not they would be able to continue in the fishery,” MLA policy director Patrice McCarron said. Video, >click to read< 08:55

Maine lobstermen stirring the pots win bigly in federal court

Back in 2021, the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), issued an opinion in pursuit of preserving the endangered right whale. As these edicts go, this “opinion” has basically force of law when it comes to imposing conservation-based measures, rules and restrictions. The right whale, which has a population hovering at a tad less than 350 individuals, has been a focus of efforts for some years. The lobster industry, reviled by many environmentalists, became an easy target for a revised set of regulations when the Biden administration took over. And they hammered them. >click to read and comment< 18:21

Global Wind Day, Environmental Nightmare

June 15 was Global Wind Day. Its European industry sponsors hope to promote the “power and possibilities” of wind turbines. But beware the Ides of June. Wind turbines have been sold to us as a means of reducing emissions, global warming and climate change. Although there are a lot of wind turbines installed around the world with many more seemingly to come, they have not reduced emissions, warming or climate change. And they offer no chance to do so, even if those things were desirable. Coming eight days short of the 35th anniversary of James Hansen’s Senate testimony that sent the world into global warming panic, it’s clear to anyone who cares to look that emissions have nothing to do with recent warming. >click to read< 08:55

Canadian and American lobster industry confronts ‘ropeless’ traps after whale entanglements

Injuries to endangered North Atlantic Right Whales ensnared in fishing gear have fueled a prominent campaign by environmental groups to pressure the industry to adopt on-demand equipment that only suspends ropes in the water briefly before traps are pulled from the water. To address the problem, the U.S. and Canadian governments have imposed new regulation on lobster and crab fisheries in recent years, including the use of weak links in rope that break if a whale swims through, color-coded rope for tracing, adding more traps per buoy line, and zone closures during whale migration. Washington and Ottawa are now promoting ropeless fishing as a possible long-term solution. But lobstermen, particularly in Maine where 80% of U.S. lobster is caught, are not enthusiastic. >click to read< 08:49

Maine Lobstermen speak out about economic and regulatory struggles

“We get told what we’re going to get paid for the product, and we get told what we’re going to be charged for the bait. We’re the ones providing, and it seems as though we’re also getting the short end of the stick,” said commercial lobsterman Dwight Staples. With rising inflation, fisherman say they’ve been hit hard. “For me personally, it was like $800 a day just to go fishing — and that was on like a three dollar lobster. So you’ve got to go, and you’ve got to catch over 250 pounds before you even break expense,” said Staples. In addition to the rising costs of running a lobster fishing business, lobstermen say that fishing regulations have made it more difficult to turn a profit, even when reeling in a good haul.  Video, >click to read< 09:07

Areas closed to protect North Atlantic Right whales ready to re-open Friday in western P.E.I.

Charlie McGeoghegan, the chair of the Lobster Fishers of P.E.I., said the re-opening is good news. “They were fishing in 80 to 100 feet of water, a lot of them, and the lobster had just started to come on in that area. And then they were forced to pull all the gear out of that area and move it into 60 feet of water or less,” he said. “There’s basically 400 boats in that area or close to it. If you take all those boats and put them in a little narrow strip between the shoreline and 60 feet depth of water … it’s an over-congestion of gear.” McGeoghegan said losses over the past two weeks could be significant for some crews. >click to read< 14:28

North Atlantic right whales causing ‘mess’ for P.E.I. lobster crews forced to move traps

Due to federal protocols, fishers had until Tuesday at 5 p.m. AT to move their gear out of waters deeper than 10 fathoms, about 18 metres, to protect the whales sighted late last week. The measure will last for 15 days, unless the whales are still in the area. Then the fishing area would be closed for at least another 15 days. “That’s not going to be good,” said Tony Clements, who fishes out of Northport. “We’re hoping for the best,” said David Henderson, who also moved 120 of his traps out of the closed zone. Out of 1,260 fishers, about 700 have already fully or partly converted to the whale-safe gear that will be mandatory by 2024. >click to read< 16:57

Maine: Lobstermen support better science to help right whales

The historical record of Maine lobstermen is clear.One right whale entangled in 2004 was disentangled and swam free. No right whale death has ever been attributed to Maine lobster gear. Gov. Janet Mills and our congressional delegation, without partisanship, acknowledge Maine lobstermen are not a threat to the right whale population. Despite never having seen one in the 50 years I’ve fished; I’ve made multiple changes to make my gear more whale friendly. These changes have been time-consuming, expensive, and potentially dangerous to me and my crew but resulted in less rope in the water. >click to read< 11:52

P.E.I. snow crab fishers thankful for big catches as price plummets

Snow crab fishers on P.E.I. say the price they’re getting for their catch is lower than it’s been in years. Crab fishers were getting $8 a pound at the wharf last year. This year, the price has plummeted to $2.25. Fishers in some other parts of the Atlantic region are staying off the water because of the low price. Meanwhile, Island snow crab fishers have wrapped up their season. Carter Hutt, who heads the P.E.I. Snow Crab Association, said the catch was so good this year, he made his full quota in just a couple weeks. The Northport fisherman said that with the price so low and expenses so high, it was the one thing that saved him from losing money. “If you make a trip for 5,000 pounds or come in with 20,000, it basically costs you the same amount for that trip,” he said.>click to read< 19:42

Wind farms creating ‘death zone’ at sea says ex-Greenpeace boss

Drilling foundations for offshore wind turbines and sound pulses used to prepare for the 900-foot towers may be creating a “death zone” for whales, a former Greenpeace chief claims. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace and its ex-president in Canada, believes the acoustic systems used by vessels surveying the ocean floor harm the marine mammals’ sense of hearing, risking their crucial ability to navigate, and leading to more dead whales washing up onshore. At least 36 “large” whales have washed up along the East Coast since Dec. 1, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. photos, >click to read< 07:51

First sighting of right whales in Canadian waters triggers partial fishing closure

The federal Fisheries Department says it has spotted endangered North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters for the first time this year. The department says two whales were seen Sunday by a surveillance aircraft in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, northeast of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine. It says fishing in the area where the whales were spotted will be closed for 15 days started Thursday at 5 p.m., and a 15-day vessel slowdown will also be in effect. video, >click to read< 18:33

Celebrate Whale Week with NOAA Fisheries: A message from Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator

At NOAA Fisheries, our team of dedicated scientists and managers is responsible for the health and sustainability of more than 30 whale species in U.S and territorial waters. Every year, we spend a week taking a deeper dive to share our whale expertise. This year is particularly notable because it is the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. Some of the most recognizable whales—North Atlantic right whales, Southern Resident killer whales, and Cook Inlet belugas—are at the top of our Species in the Spotlight initiative. >click to read< 18:33

Maine Lobstering Union Testifies Before U.S. Congress on Protecting Maine’s Safe and Sustainable Lobster Fishery

Maine Lobstering Union Local 207 Executive Liaison and Political Director Virginia Olsen testified at a hearing held by the U.S. Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries, opposing legislation that would unfairly target the Maine lobstering industry. The subcommittee hearing included testimonies on H.R. 1213, H.R. 1213 will impose meritless measures regarding endangered right whales while undermining Maine’s economy and the financial stability. “As Maine fishermen we have repeatedly stepped up and done whatever was required of us to protect right whales,” said Olsen. “Regulations only benefit the whale when the whales are present, and where there are no whales there is no justification for the regulation. Unnecessary regulations only erode public confidence in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) without any benefit to the endangered species itself.” Photos, >click to read< 09:10