New Right Whale Measures Not Making Friends With The Lobstermen...

Roccus7

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Dec 22, 2018
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The ropeless thing has me extremely concerned, especially if it gets mandated across the gamut. All of my best cod spots are shared with lobstermen, I'd lose a ton of gear...


NOAA imposes seasonal ban on traditional lobstering for large part of Gulf of Maine​

pressherald.com/2021/08/31/noaa-imposes-seasonal-ban-on-traditional-lobstering-for-large-part-of-gulf-of-maine/

By Hannah LaClaire and Kevin Miller Staff Writer
August 31, 2021

A 950-square-mile area of the Gulf of Maine will be off-limits to traditional lobstering from October through January – the year’s most lucrative season – under new federal rules designed to protect an endangered whale species.

Federal officials on Tuesday released a new set of rules for Maine’s lobster fishery aimed at reducing the risk to critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, which are believed number less than 400 worldwide.

But many industry officials worry that the changes will instead shift the risk to the lobster fishery that is the backbone of Maine’s fishing industry. And the new rules are unlikely to satisfy either conservation groups pushing for stronger safeguards for whales or Maine political leaders who are fiercely protective of the state’s iconic lobster industry.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan aims to reduce risk to the North Atlantic right whales by at least 60 percent. The plans released Tuesday include: gear modifications to reduce the number of vertical lines by requiring more traps between buoy lines, introducing weak insertions or weak rope into buoy lines so that a rope will break if a whale becomes entangled, modifying existing seasonal restricted areas to allow ropeless fishing, and adding additional, seasonal restricted areas that are closed to buoy lines but allow ropeless fishing.

The latter, which includes a new seasonal closure in a large area about 12 nautical miles off midcoast Maine known as Lobster Management Area 1, has been one of the most hotly contested of the plan’s changes.


The affected area is more than 950 square miles and stretches roughly from Mount Desert Island down to eastern Casco Bay.

The plan closes the area to fishing from October through January but allows buoyless or “ropeless” fishing – a new and experimental technology that brings lobster traps to the surface from smartphone signals.

Federal officials estimate that this closure will impact about 120 vessels (up from their original estimate of about 45). Half of those likely catch lobsters in the restricted area, and the other half may be crowded by the boats that move from the restricted area into waters outside of that closure, reducing the overall catch rates.

The closure is expected to cost lobstermen between 5 and 10 percent of their annual revenue each year.

The administration of Maine Gov. Janet Mills and members of the state’s congressional delegation had not responded to the new NOAA plans as of midday Tuesday.

But in an August 21 letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, delegation members urged the Biden administration “to avoid hasty, late-breaking changes” to measures that had been negotiated over several years. Maine’s four delegation members – Republican Sen. Susan Collins, independent Sen. Angus King and Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden – raised particular concerns about the prospects of a seasonal closure to lobster fishing with rope in part of Maine.
“An absolute closed area would be very costly, if not prohibitive, to the business models of numerous fishermen and, in many respects, would seemingly not provide much additional risk reduction” to whales, the delegation wrote. “We strongly believe that fishermen should not lose access to fishing grounds unless whales are present.”

The new rules also call for modifications to gear marking, using state-specific colors for gear marks to better identify where a whale became entangled. Maine already implemented its own marking program over the summer, so its purple designation will stand.
The gear modifications required by the rule will go into effect May 1, 2022, which is the start of the American lobster/Jonah crab fishing year, NOAA said in a press release Tuesday. The changes to the seasonally restricted areas will go into effect in 30 days.

The total cost of all proposed measures for including gear marking, weak rope, restricted area and gear conversion costs range from $5.9 million to $12.8 million annually, $28 million to $61 million in total, according to a draft environmental impact statement.

In a February letter to NOAA’s regional fisheries director, Mills expressed “grave concerns” about the agency’s goal of a 98 percent risk reduction to whales from the fishing industry by 2030. The plan released Tuesday is the first phase of that roughly 10-year conservation framework released by NOAA in May.

“It is hard for my administration and the industry to imagine how these targets could not be achieved without a conversion to ropeless fishing – a still highly untested technology which raises more questions than answers,” Mills wrote at the time. “If this comes to pass, it is not only fishermen and their crew who will be impacted by a significant change in the operations of the fishery. Gear suppliers, trap builders, rope manufacturers – all these businesses face a deeply uncertain future as a result of the propose 98% risk reduction over the coming decade.”

Since 2017, 34 right whales have been killed, according to NOAA. An earlier estimate of 33 deaths attributed 21 to Canada and 12 to the U.S.

Eleven incidents were attributed to ship strikes, including at least two in U.S. waters, but none can be linked to the Maine lobster industry. The most recent known Maine entanglement occurred in 2004, but the whale survived.

Additionally, since 2017, 16 live whales have been documented with serious injuries from entanglements or vessel strikes. “Serious injuries” means the whale is likely to die from its injuries, though it was alive at last sighting.

With only about 368 of the endangered whales still alive, that reflects a more than 10 percent decline in their population in under five years. An estimated 85 percent of right whales show signs of entanglements, according to officials.

At least one environmental organization heavily involved in the years-long regulatory battle said Tuesday that the rules do not go far enough to protect North Atlantic right whales. While the Conservation Law Foundation praised the inclusion of additional closure areas and the plan’s official encouragement of ropeless fishing, the organization said a 60 percent reduction is inadequate given the plight of the whales.

“While this rule is a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough or fast enough to stop the precipitous decline of this species,” Erica Fuller, senior attorney at the Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation, said in a statement. “We plan to challenge the new rule in court to ensure that right whales recover rather than become an extinction statistic. That means reducing the risk of serious injuries and deaths by at least 80 percent immediately, not fiddling while Rome burns.”

Producing about 82 percent of the country’s lobster, Maine’s lobster fishery is the largest in the United States, but fishermen say they’re not seeing the whales in Maine waters, despite bearing the brunt of the burden in the new plan.

The NOAA plan does not include measures to help prevent ship strikes or reduce mortality and serious injuries in Canadian waters, which together account for the majority of right whale deaths.
 

Old Mud

Well-Known Angler
Dec 31, 2018
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If peeps wanna eat lobster 🦞 let them pay the higher price… cellfish…


King Crab is $30.00 #, yes…
Lobster is $5..00 .
If they do in fact close that much ocean And i know they will. There will be little winter Lobster fisheries at any price. Whenever NOAA proposes something you can bet your ass it will be implemented. Some of their information is quite questionable. Such as this statement.

"

"Federal officials estimate that this closure will impact about 120 vessels (up from their original estimate of about 45). Half of those likely catch lobsters in the restricted area, and the other half may be crowded by the boats that move from the restricted area into waters outside of that closure, reducing the overall catch rates."

If they think only about 120 vessels will be affected in that particular 950 Square miles Guess they have never been out there for the season. That's just for starters. We are NOT the culprits in the slow reduction in the Right Whale populations. The facts clearly show that !!! BOOBS !!!
 

cany

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Dec 20, 2018
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If peeps wanna eat lobster 🦞 let them pay the higher price… cellfish…


King Crab is $30.00 #, yes…
Lobster is $5..00 .
If they do in fact close that much ocean And i know they will. There will be little winter Lobster fisheries at any price. Whenever NOAA proposes something you can bet your ass it will be implemented. Some of their information is quite questionable. Such as this statement.

"

"Federal officials estimate that this closure will impact about 120 vessels (up from their original estimate of about 45). Half of those likely catch lobsters in the restricted area, and the other half may be crowded by the boats that move from the restricted area into waters outside of that closure, reducing the overall catch rates."

If they think only about 120 vessels will be affected in that particular 950 Square miles Guess they have never been out there for the season. That's just for starters. We are NOT the culprits in the slow reduction in the Right Whale populations. The facts clearly show that !!! BOOBS !!!
1631487729410.png
oldmud told you
 

george

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www.nyangler.com

East Coast Gillnet and Trap/Pot Scoping Meetings Happening September/October​

Sign Up to Attend Scoping Meetings on Phase 2 of Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Modifications​

NOAA Fisheries is holding scoping meetings to collect input on efforts to reduce the risk of entanglement to right, humpback, and fin whales in U.S. East Coast gillnet, Atlantic mixed-species trap/pot, and Mid-Atlantic lobster and Jonah crab trap/pot fisheries. The scoping period extends through October 21, 2021.

What is Scoping?​

The scoping process provides an opportunity for citizens to provide input on the range of issues to be addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed rule.

We need your input on modifications to fishing and fishing gear that could reduce deaths and serious injuries to large whales from fishing gear. For example, these could include recommendations for seasonally closed areas, the addition of weak inserts so that rope would break more easily if a whale gets entangled, and ways to reduce the number of lines in the water. We are also interested in information on gear marking so that when a whale does get entangled, we will have a better idea of where the entanglement occurred. This could help inform future management measures. To evaluate any recommended measures, we also need information from fishermen on things like:

  • How long does it take you to modify your gear?
  • If you fish in an area that requires weak links, do you use them outside of the required period or do you re-rig your gear?
  • When/how often do you maintain your gear?

How to Participate

You may send written comments to us at [email protected], attend a scoping meeting, or give us a call on one of our call-in days.

Register to attend scoping meetings by using the links below. You may also watch past scoping meetings through the registration links for these meetings. Presentations for each scoping meeting are available on the event page. Presentations will be posted by the day of the scoping meeting.

Upcoming Scoping Meetings​

  • Sept 14 (Tues) Trap/Pot: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Northern North Carolina
  • Sept 21 (Tues) Trap/Pot: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island
  • Sept 23 (Thurs) Gillnets: Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey
  • Oct 5 (Tues) Gillnets & Trap/Pot: Southern North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida
  • Oct 12 (Tues) Gillnets: Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Northern North Carolina
  • Oct 14 (Thurs) Gillnets: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island
Our scoping period runs through October 21, 2021.

Phase 1 Complete​

We recently announced Phase 1 of Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan modifications for the Northeast lobster/Jonah crab trap/pot fishery.
 

Roccus7

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Dec 22, 2018
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I'm confused, but I guess it's time to "sleep with the enemy"? At least the Econazis have very deep pockets...

Maine won’t sue over right whale restrictions, but isn’t giving up fight​

pressherald.com/2021/09/14/maine-wont-sue-over-right-whale-restrictions-but-it-isnt-giving-up/

By Hannah LaClaire September 14, 2021
AP21237652742278-1024x704.jpg

Maine won’t be suing federal regulators over new commercial lobstering restrictions intended to protect an endangered species of whale, but it isn’t giving up the fight entirely.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources has been advised against suing federal officials over a controversial new set of rules designed to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale from being harmed by the lobster industry, but Commissioner Patrick Keliher told Maine lawmakers during a briefing Tuesday that the department has not abandoned all plans for legal action.

Instead of suing over the rules directly, he said, the department is planning to intervene in an existing case against the National Marine Fisheries Service that was filed by a group of environmentalists who contend the agency hasn’t done enough to protect the critically endangered whales.

The department has hired Linda Larson, a lawyer specializing in environmental and natural resource law, from Nossaman LLP in Seattle. According to Keliher, Gov. Janet Mills has already committed to covering legal fees in what he said will be a “very expensive process.”

“That’ll probably be the tip of the iceberg, depending on the direction that this case goes, but we are going to be actively involved in that federal case assuming our motion to intervene will be granted,” he said.

RULES SHOCK INDUSTRY
Last month, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a new set of rules for New England’s lobster fishery aimed at reducing the risk to critically endangered North Atlantic right whales and other whale species. Scientists believe there are only about 360 right whales left worldwide, so the species has become a flashpoint among environmentalists, federal regulators and fishermen because of the whales’ tendency to become entangled in fishing gear.

The goal is to reduce the risk to the whales by at least 60 percent.

The new rules will require lobstermen to string more traps on a single rope and to use weaker ropes to allow entangled whales to break free, and will put more than 950 square miles of the Gulf of Maine off-limits to traditional lobstering from October through January – the area’s most lucrative season. Lobster and crab fishermen also will have to add state-specific color markings to gear, a requirement officials believed the state had already met in 2020. However, the final rule included additional changes to the state’s gear-marking systems, blindsiding government and industry officials, as well as fishermen.
The gear modifications required by the rule will go into effect May 1, 2022, which is the start of the American lobster/Jonah crab fishing year. The changes to the seasonally restricted areas are expected to go into effect a month after they are entered into the Federal Registry, which is expected to happen soon.
Many industry officials worry that the changes will cause undue harm to the lobster fishery, which is the backbone of Maine’s fishing industry. The new rules were criticized by all sides in the debate – conservation groups pushing for stronger safeguards for whales, lobstermen who feel wrongly targeted and Maine political leaders who are fiercely protective of the state’s iconic lobster industry.

Keliher told the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee on Tuesday that federal agencies are given “extreme deference” in federal court, and that the department’s legal counsel has said they “really don’t have a case as it pertains to these existing rules.”

ENVIRONMENTALISTS PREVAIL
Conservation groups originally filed suit against the National Marine Fisheries Service in federal court in Washington, D.C., in early 2018, alleging that the federal government failed to manage the fishing industry by not enforcing the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The civil suit, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Humane Society of the United States, criticized the Fisheries Service for supporting a 2014 biological opinion that found commercial fisheries are likely to kill or seriously injure more than three North Atlantic right whales a year, but also led the federal agency to conclude “that the fishery is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of North Atlantic right whales.”

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg sided with the environmental groups, ruling that the Fisheries Service violated the Endangered Species Act by not properly reporting the lobster industry’s harmful impacts on right whales.

Boasberg said the agency would have to vacate its 2014 conclusion that lobstering could continue, because it knew right whales were dying at more than three times the rate sustainable for a species that had dwindled to no more than 400 whales.

Per court order, the agency had until May 31 of this year to finalize a new biological opinion – a requirement under the Endangered Species Act that becomes the basis for rule-making surrounding the specific species.

The new biological opinion was released May 27. The document aims to reduce the risk to whales by 98 percent over the next 10 years.

In it, federal officials found that, provided they meet the reduction targets in the implementation framework, none of the 10 fisheries included in the document, including the lobster fishery, were “likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the North Atlantic right whales.”

The biological opinion creates a four-phased approach to all but eliminate whale deaths in federally managed fishing areas, the first of which is the “take reduction plan,” or the new set of rules announced last month.

The second and third phases would include additional risk-reduction measures in 2025 and 2030.

SEEKING TO INTERVENE
Keliher and other industry officials have said the 98 percent risk-reduction target over the span of a decade would require a complete reinvention of the state’s lobster fishery, but environmentalists argue that the right whales don’t have 10 years to wait, and that the agency needs to take more drastic action now.

On Friday, the Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Law Foundation and Defenders of Wildlife filed an updated lawsuit against the Fisheries Service for failing to prevent the whales from getting tangled up and killed in lobster gear, the Conservation Law Foundation said in a news release.

The lawsuit, which amends and supplements the 2018 lawsuit, alleges that the new biological opinion and the new rules violate the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and Administrative Procedure Act.

“For decades, the agency has failed to act or even follow the law, driving North Atlantic right whales toward extinction,” Kristen Monsell, oceans legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “We’ve already waited far too long to protect North Atlantic right whales from deadly entanglements. It’s time to get all vertical fishing lines out of right whale habitat and convert to on-demand ropeless fishing gear.”

It’s this lawsuit that Keliher hopes the Department of Marine Resources will be able to join as an intervenor to help protect the fishery from even more restrictive rules in the future. Keliher said the timeline for when the state may file for intervenor status is unclear. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association also is an intervenor in the case.

Jeff Nichols, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Marine Resources, said in an email Tuesday that the intervention is the “best legal strategy right now” and will “ensure we have a voice in the legal proceedings.”

“Our goal is to protect Maine’s economically valuable lobster fishery and industry’s cultural heritage while simultaneously finding a balance in the effort to protect right whales,” he said.

Nichols said Mills has authorized the use of $230,000 from the Governor’s Contingent Account to retain the use of outside counsel, with the approval of the state Attorney General’s Office.
 

Roccus7

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Dec 22, 2018
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just two of the many more pics… C22…
.
View attachment 38314View attachment 38315
Yes, nets and long lines are the second biggest culprits, but ship strikes are #1. I'm not saying that nothing should be done to protect them, but let's make sure the measures are effective against the biggest causes.

Most of the recent problems occurred because their favorite food, krill, have moved from the Bay of Fundy to the St. Lawrence River's mouth, and ship strikes in Canada have taken the largest toll on them. There hasn't been a recorded entanglement with Maine lobster gear for over 15 years now so do you target lobster fisherman as a "feel good, we did something measure" or do you tell Canada to reduce speed limits for the St. Lawrence Seaway approaches, along with limits on offshore nets and long lines???
 

CELLFISH

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Jan 14, 2019
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Yes, nets and long lines are the second biggest culprits, but ship strikes are #1. I'm not saying that nothing should be done to protect them, but let's make sure the measures are effective against the biggest causes.

Most of the recent problems occurred because their favorite food, krill, have moved from the Bay of Fundy to the St. Lawrence River's mouth, and ship strikes in Canada have taken the largest toll on them. There hasn't been a recorded entanglement with Maine lobster gear for over 15 years now so do you target lobster fisherman as a "feel good, we did something measure" or do you tell Canada to reduce speed limits for the St. Lawrence Seaway approaches, along with limits on offshore nets and long lines???

my last cruise to Nova Scotia, Captain reduced speed to get through a large family of whales... cellfish...
 

CELLFISH

Well-Known Angler
Jan 14, 2019
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i cant read and know all the requirements, but wouldnt a forward type of radar at the water line help wit detecting whales ahead... cellfish...
 

Roccus7

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Dec 22, 2018
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Thirty-day countdown starts for Maine lobster industry restrictions to protect right whales​

pressherald.com/2021/09/17/30-day-countdown-starts-for-maine-lobster-industry-restrictions-to-protect-right-whales/

By Hannah LaClaire September 17, 2021
908204-whales02.jpg

A more than 950-square-mile stretch of the Gulf of Maine will be off-limits to traditional lobstering starting Oct. 18 through the end of January.

Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its final rule on the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, which seeks to reduce the lobster fishery’s threat to the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale by 60 percent.

The final rule was published in the federal register Friday, starting a 30-day countdown until the area closes to traditional rope-and-buoy lobster trapping through January. Ropeless fishing, a high-tech approach not yet implemented commercially in Maine, still will be allowed.

The late fall and winter months aren’t traditionally the busy season for Maine lobstermen, but for offshore fishermen, the colder temperatures mean harder shells and higher prices, making it a lucrative time of year. Lobstermen contend the new rules will be expensive, dangerous, burdensome and impractical, and won’t reduce the risk to whales.

According to federal officials, the closure will directly affect roughly 60 lobstermen in the restricted area and another 60 who might be affected by the others relocating, but not the vast majority of lobstermen, who fish closer to shore.

For those who do fish in the restricted area, officials expect the closure will cost 5 to 10 percent of their total revenue each year.

Lobstermen who fish in the area, though, say the estimates are grossly off the mark. They say revenue losses for those affected could be closer to 50 percent.

The plan does allow buoyless or “ropeless” fishing – a new and experimental technology that brings lobster traps to the surface using acoustic signals – but the technology has not been tested in Maine. It will require a special permit from the state Department of Marine Resources.

NOAA’s proposed rule explored the option for adaptive management, setting a sort of “trigger” that would signal the need for a closure instead of instituting an all-out ban on traditional fishing in the area for four months of the year. The option was not included in the final rule – partly, according to officials, because a reliable trigger was not identified.

Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, has said not only is the closure far larger than it needs to be, but it also poses risks beyond just increased competition.

“Denser aggregations of gear outside the restricted area will pose an increase in gear conflict as fishermen are displaced from the restricted area and forced to find new areas to set their gear,” Keliher said in a statement.

Some lobstermen expressed concern that not only will there be more gear conflicts, they’ll also lose revenue when lobstermen who normally use the restricted area are pushed into territory where they don’t usually fish.

Others worry that the area could transform into a derby-style fishery, in which a season opens for just a short time, forcing fishermen to race to find a spot and land their catch in that window, sometimes at the risk of their safety.

Aside from the closed area, the new rules also require lobstermen to string more traps on a single rope and to use weaker ropes to allow entangled whales to break free. Lobster and crab fishermen also will have to add state-specific color markings to gear, a requirement officials believed the state had already met in 2020. However, the final rule included additional changes to the state’s gear-marking systems, blindsiding government and industry officials, as well as fishermen.

The gear modifications required by the rule will go into effect May 1, 2022, which is the start of the American lobster/Jonah crab fishing year.
 

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