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COVID 19- Canceling WDC Travel, Not Momentum

COVID 19- Canceling WDC Travel, Not Momentum

I am writing this on the evening of Tuesday March 10th, just hours after the...
How we’re tackling whaling in Norway

How we’re tackling whaling in Norway

We’re helping to spearhead a campaign – supported by an international coalition of almost 40...
Record breaker Riptide the orca swims from Iceland to Lebanon

Record breaker Riptide the orca swims from Iceland to Lebanon

A male orca, commonly known as Riptide, has been spotted in waters around Beirut, Lebanon,...
How do you thank someone who has changed your life?

How do you thank someone who has changed your life?

*This is the third part of a three-part blog series. You can read the first...
Dipping my toes into the policy pool

Dipping my toes into the policy pool

Just a few short months after I packed everything I owned and drove from California...
Mel on the boat with a whale

From the Pacific Coast to the North Atlantic Right Whale

WDC’s internship is designed to give interns a taste of life at a marine mammal...
From One Mother to Another

From One Mother to Another

See the part that is sticking out? It isn't supposed to look like that. Georgia...
Japan’s government agrees to more funding for whale hunts

Japan’s government agrees to more funding for whale hunts

Japan’s Diet (parliament) has passed a law to help support commercial whaling through increased funding...

Hey Maine- this fluke is for you!

Mass lobster
maine3
Skim feeding RAS

In light of the deaths of six endangered right whales in Canada, Maine’s Congressional Delegation and its Governor are calling for a REDUCTION in protections for right whales in US waters. Keep in mind that what they are now opposing was developed and agreed to by representatives of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and Maine’s Department of Marine Resources this past April during the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team Meeting.

Now citing faulty data, they claim that Maine’s fisheries are not responsible for entanglements of right whales and therefore their fishery should not be subjected to reducing the number of buoy lines, the part of the gear most likely to entangle a large whale.

While it is true that, according to NOAA, the origin of most entangling gear is unknown, it’s also true that Maine’s congressional delegation intervened in efforts to reduce entanglement risk to large whales in 2008. They successfully demanded that 71% of all Maine waters be exempted from risk reduction measures, including gear marking.

Come on Maine, refusing to mark your gear doesn’t mean you didn’t entangle whales now does it?  Just ask the minke whales who have been anchored in your gear over the past few years.

You claim that right whales are not at risk in your waters but I’m pretty sure this is your coast with many right whale sightings....

Maine RW map

You boast about having the largest lobster fishery in the entire US, but that also means you have the most rope in the water.  Last time I checked, risk was defined as whales swimming through areas of fixed fishing gear.

On the other hand, Massachusetts lobster fishers not only mark their gear, but have no areas exempted from the use of sinking groundline and are subjected to a three month closure from fishing to protect right whales who come into Cape Cod Bay each spring.  And somehow they haven’t gone out of business.  In fact, Massachusetts lobster fishers have also been proactive in developing gear modifications to reduce the severity of entanglements and have been willing to test “ropeless” gear.

Keep in mind, the American lobster (Homarus americanus) is not unique to Maine waters and is the same species fished and sold in Massachusetts.  In fact, I believe that Massachusetts lobster tastes a bit sweeter as it doesn’t include the bitter seasoning of a State who now opposes the very same whale conservation measures it helped to develop.  For now, I’ll stick to buying my lobsters in Massachusetts.

Maine, you can DO better. You can BE better.

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