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North Atlantic Right Whale Photo: Michael Dwyer, AP
The Maine lobster industry had agreed to reduce trap lines to save the highly endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, but the agreement fell apart when lobster fishers balked at the government’s proposal to require them to remove up to half of their 800,000 lobster trap lines. The Wall Street Journal reported this week on the impasse between the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service and the industry, with Democratic Governor Janet Mills siding with industry and the State of Maine doing further studies to come up with a counter-proposal.
Why This Matters: There are fewer than 100 breeding age female North Atlantic Right Whales and as we have reported, there have been many whale deaths in the last two years due to entanglements in fishing lines and ship strikes. The situation facing this species is particularly grim and drastic action is needed. The industry believes that NOAA’s analysis of the need to reduce trap lines by 50% puts too much of the burden on them. And to reduce lines puts the safety of lobstermen at risk. But the industry has been growing tremendously in recent years as lobsters have shifted north due to warming waters in New England – climate change “winners” for now. The industry now contributes $1.5B to the economy of Maine and many coastal communities rely entirely on the lobster fishery. This is likely why the Democratic governor is backing industry for now and desperately looking for compromise. Let’s hope they find one. Fishing communities need to fish sustainably and must have more sources of jobs than relying on one fishery — just ask the cod fishermen in Massachusetts.
“Climate change really helped us for the last 20 years,” said Dave Cousens, who stepped down as president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association in March of 2018. But, he added, “Climate change is going to kill us, in probably the next 30.”
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has set a new conservation standard, called the IUCN green status of species. This standard will not only suggest how close a species is to extinction but also how close it is to recovering its original population size and health. […]
As IFAW recently explained, no matter where you live—the valleys of the Himalayas, the Melbourne coastline, or the landlocked prairies of Kentucky—more than 50% of the air you breathe is produced by the ocean. Yet the ocean makes much of that oxygen thanks to little marine organisms called phytoplankton and the marvels of whale poop. […]
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer Rivers and lakes across Northwestern states — from Yellowstone to Montana — have lost most of their trout, due to extreme drought conditions. Because of this, state authorities have implemented a variety of restrictions to preserve their dwindling trout populations, leaving recreational fly fishers in the lurch. Why This […]
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