Tag Archives: North Atlantic right whales

Maine lobstermen are not a threat to right whales

The voices of Maine’s lobster fishermen are being drowned in a sea of injustice. I’m determined to speak for them. U.S. District Court Judge James Boasburg’s recent ruling is the latest blow to Maine’s billion-dollar industry. Boasburg’s decision that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration violated the Endangered Species Act by authorizing the American lobster fishery despite its potential to harm the North Atlantic right whale population comes on the heels of new regulations imposed on fishermen last year. With many fishermen just starting to mark their fishing gear according to the new regulations, Boasburg’s ruling has left them in a state of uncertainty. Will this be the end of the industry as they know it? by Carol Smith, >click to read< 09:15

Feds delay Snow Crab season in Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the decision on Thursday to pause the season will let everyone involved in the fishery to put necessary health and safety measures in place. Seafood processors in the Maritimes had called on Ottawa to delay the crab and lobster season, warning that moving ahead with fishing risks workers’ health — and the bottom line — amid the COVID-19 pandemic.,, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said Thursday the province hopes Fisheries and Oceans Canada will delay the spring season for a few weeks, with the possibility of federal compensation. The Maritime Fishermen’s Union, which represents 1,200 harvesters in New Brunswick, said Friday they support a delay of the lobster season until May 15 >click to read< 16:28

Canada unveils 2020 protection measures for North Atlantic right whales

Over the past several years, Canada has put in place comprehensive measures to help protect this species from interactions with fishing gear and vessels.,, announced the enhanced 2020 measures that will help reduce the risks to North Atlantic right whales during the 2020 season from April to November. To help prevent entanglements with fishing gear, Fisheries and Oceans Canada: will implement new season-long fishing closures in areas where whales are aggregating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, expand temporary fishing closure areas into the Bay of Fundy, more >click to read< 07:59

DFO: Season-long fishing closures possible under new North Atlantic right whale protections

On Thursday, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced more protections in an effort to prevent future entanglements. “These new measures build on that work, and are informed by the latest research and technology,” said Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan in a release.,, This year, from April to November, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will be closing fishing in areas of the gulf where whales are gathering in large numbers. If whales are detected in an area of the gulf more than once during a 15-day period, that fishing zone will be closed for fishing until the end of the season on Nov.15. Previously, the zone would be re-opened after 15 days. >click to read< 15:58

Scoping Hearing on Lobster/Gear Right Whale Entanglements

On Tuesday night there will be a scoping meeting from 6-8 PM at Mass Maritime Academy to receive public input on ways to alter the American lobster fishery regulations to reduce mortality of North Atlantic right whales by 60%. This is a followup to the August 21, 2019 NOAA Fisheries GARFO (Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office) public meeting in Bourne that sought input on the recommendations from the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team,, >click to read< 20:29

The Risk of Ship Strikes: Maine Congressional Delegation Ask Feds To Shift Focus Of Right Whale Protections

In a letter to top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this week, the delegation calls on the agency to provide more information about reducing the risk of ship strikes off the United States and Canada – strikes that they say are as much a threat to the whales’ survival as entanglement with lobster fishing gear. >click to read< 10:13

  Most likely Carnival Cruise Lines is responsible for 18+ Right Whale deaths in the past 3 year, at which rate they would soon be extinct>click to read<

New Hampshire: Lobstermen lament coming whale entanglement regulations

Seacoast lobstermen weighed in on the proposal at a meeting Thursday night in Portsmouth with the state Department of Fish and Game. They’re still skeptical that their fishery poses enough of a threat to the whales to merit new regulations. And they want more details and input on the new, more easily breakable lines or gear they’ll have to use to keep whales from being entangled. >click to read< 07:10

Maine Lobstermen Skeptical Of Proposal To Tie ‘Whale-Safe’ Seafood Label To Use Of New Fishing Gear. They should be.

A movement is emerging among conservation groups to create a “whale-safe” seal of approval for lobster caught with new types of gear designed to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales. But it could be a tough sell in Maine, where some say the iconic fishery is already sustainable.,, “That’s really important, that fishermen willing to test this gear, and certainly those fishermen fishing with ropeless gear should be rewarded,” says Erica Fuller, a lawyer at the Conservation Law Foundation, one of several organizations suing the federal government for stronger protections of the roughly 400 North Atlantic right whales remaining on the planet. >click to read< 10:36

Maine congressional delegation wants more info before whale rules released

The four members of Maine’s delegation said Wednesday they want information from NOAA about how new findings will be incorporated into the draft rules. NOAA completed a peer review process of the data tool it’s using to create the regulations, and the delegation wants to know what impact that will have on the rules, the members said. >click to read<  14:03

Most likely Carnival Cruise Lines is responsible for 18+ Right Whale deaths in the past 3 year, at which rate they would soon be extinct.

Human caused Right whale deaths have suddenly, in sync with a plummeting whale birthrate, put the right whale on the path to extinction.,,, There is the simple answer, to halt the march towards extinction. There is an easy way to prevent those 18 deaths and at least bring that -18 up to 0. We can stop the majority of the anthropogenic Whale deaths with a simple Cruise Ship lane modification between PEI and the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula. Prior to 2007 ships were almost solely responsible for Right whale deaths, but since 2008 fishing line entanglement deaths have increased and fishermen have become the main target. However data from the past 3 years indicate many more ship strike deaths than entanglement deaths. >click to read< 12:41

Canada-U.S. tensions expected to be big topic at right whale meeting Thursday

Canadian-U.S. trade relations and tensions around fishing regulations are expected to be top of mind Thursday at a discussion about North Atlantic right whales. Dozens of people from the fishing industry and conservation groups are in Moncton to meet with officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada. ,, Hanging over Thursday’s meeting is the threat that in 2021, the U.S. could ban Canadian seafood imports if officials here don’t put in place equivalent protection for marine mammals.,, After six whale deaths had been reported by Canada by early July, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Chris Oliver requested an emergency meeting with Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada, urging immediate action. >click to read<  19:09

Maine’s lobstermen willing to work with feds to protect whales

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association is one of the key stakeholders in an effort to better protect the North Atlantic right whales,,, A federal plan that’s being developed to help save the whales would remove miles of lobster trap rope from the waters off Maine.,, regulators have also recently expressed desire to work with the lobstermen, who have said the whale protection plan placed too much onus on their business, which is an industry vital to Maine’s economy. Chris Oliver, NOAA’s assistant administrator for fisheries, said this month that federal managers are also “diligently working with our Canadian counterparts to address both ship strikes and entanglements in Canadian waters.” >click to read< 14:18

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