Wednesday, July 28, 2021


Powerful testimony from Capitol Police officers at insurrection hearing; and CDC now says even vaccinated people should wear masks in some situations.


CDC recommends vaccinated people mask up indoors; searing testimony in first hearing on Jan. 6 insurrection; man accused of killing 8, mostly women of Asian descent, in Atlanta area spa pleads guilty to 4 deaths; mental health takes center stage at Olympics with unexpected exit of superstar gymnast Biles. Note offensive but cogent language in first cut.

Offshore Lobster Industry in Maine Threatening Right Whales


Thursday, May 9, 2019   

BAR HARBOR, Maine – While the U.S. lobster industry is booming in Maine, some of its fishing methods are hurting a special group – the North Atlantic right whales.

The whales number slightly more than 400 and are facing extinction.

Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration convened a group of experts, called the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team. It made recommendations to the federal government about how to protect the right whales and, in particular, how the New England lobster industry can modify practices to save the whales.

Zack Klyver with Bar Harbor Whale Watch and Blue Planet Strategies, has reviewed data of about 100 whale sightings in Maine. He says the majority of the sightings were about 20 miles off the coast.

"That's where the greatest co-occurrence of risk is for whales and fishing gear, and that, I think, is where there really is need for conservation," Klyver states.

Meanwhile, the offshore lobster industry, which travels further into the water, has grown. According to a number of experts, this has been a deadly mix for the right whales.

Peter Baker, who directs The Pew Charitable Trust's marine conservation work in New England and the Atlantic region of Canada, describes the offshore lobster industry's rise.

"What we've seen over the last 15 years or so is this massive buildup of an offshore lobster fleet,” he points out. “And these guys go farther out in the federal waters. They go out into where the right whale migrates, and they put in much bigger traps. They're much heavier. They're much deeper."

Baker maintains conservation efforts need to focus more on industrial-size offshore fleets and their impact on whales.

Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director of the North American office of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, was part of the Take-Reduction Team. She says she was impressed by Maine's commitment to protect the whales.

"Maine, for instance, has said that they will reduce vertical line by 50%,” she points out. “Those vertical lines, those buoy lines that go up to the surface, that appears to be the biggest risk to right whale entanglements. And that's a very big deal."

Asmutis-Silvia hopes there will be a proposed rule by the end of the year and that within the next few years, this rule will significantly reduce the amount of vertical fishing line in the water.

But the recommendations must go through an approval process that could be divisive, particularly from some lobster groups.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

get more stories like this via email

In a survey of young people who have experienced foster care, nearly 20% reported they ran out of food. (Maya Kruchancova/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansans ages 16 to 26 who are or have been in the foster-care system now are eligible for one-time payments of at least $750…

Social Issues

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Jessica Molina of Perrysburg says she was inspired as a child by the spirit of activism, as she watched her parents participate in …


HARRISBURG, Pa. - U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., wants to bring back the Civilian Conservation Corps, a public-works program from the 1930s that created …

Nationwide, drug-overdose deaths increased by 30% between 2019 and 2020. (Andrey/Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

CHICAGO - Overdose deaths in Illinois rose by more than a quarter from 2019 to 2020, and medical experts are warning that pills not prescribed by a …

Health and Wellness

MINNEAPOLIS - As COVID cases trend upward again, public-health experts are setting the record straight on certain storylines about new infections…

A new report says the onset of the pandemic saw a drop of nearly 60% in children's visits to U.S. pediatricians. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

APPLETON, Wis. - The pandemic paused many facets of life, and a new report says wellness checkups for children were among them. With school resuming …


ALBANY, N.Y. - A ballot measure could give New York residents the constitutional right to a healthy environment, and on Tuesday a group of state …

Social Issues

SALEM, Ore. - Young people of color are locked up at disproportionately high rates compared with their white peers, despite recent signs the gap is …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021