Court Issues Leviathan Ruling In Favor of Right Whales

Court Issues Leviathan Ruling In Favor of Right Whales

A federal court in Washington, D.C. handed the highly endangered North Atlantic Right Whale a leviathan victory ruling that the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision to open up two areas amounting to 3,000 square miles off the New England coast to gillnet fishing violated the Endangered Species Act.  The Court restored the previous prohibition on the use of gillnets by fishermen in the whales’ critical habitat.

Why This Matters:  There are only 400 North Atlantic Right Whales remaining and 30 have died as a result of ship strikes and gear entanglements since 2017.  In recent years, the areas that the government re-opened to fishing have become increasingly important as gathering and feeding spots for right whales, with up to a quarter of the population spotted in these areas during some seasons of the year. 

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Gray Whales Need a Hand to #StopTheNets

At least 121 gray whales died off the West Coast this past summer and that was the second-worst year on record for gray whale deaths.

Why This Matters:  The gillnets that entangle whales, turtles and dolphins were set to be outlawed but in June of 2017 but the Trump Administration abruptly pulled the proposed rule banning them because NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) determined the cost to the commercial fishing industry outweighed conservation benefits.  The State of California will phase out those gillnets if $1 million of nonstate funds are raised to match the $1 million allocated by the state legislature, but those funds are not raised yet.

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