Please select your home edition
Edition
Gul 2019 GAMMA Leaderboard

U.S., Canadian leaders discuss next steps for right whales

by Chris Oliver, NOAA Fisheries 15 Aug 11:59 BST
North Atlantic right whale mom and calf as seen from a research drone. © Lisa Conger & Elizabeth Josephson / NOAA Fisheries

Last week, I met with officials from Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Transport Canada to continue our bilateral discussions on the conservation and management of the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale.

We have already been coordinating closely with Canada to share innovative techniques and solutions that foster healthy fisheries, reduce the risk of entanglements, and create whale-safe shipping practices. We requested this special meeting because the situation has become even more alarming with the recent discovery of eight dead and four entangled North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada. With fewer than 95 breeding females left, protecting every individual is a top priority, and increased efforts are needed by both countries in order to provide comprehensive protection for this transboundary species.

Specifically, we discussed measures that both countries have undertaken to reduce risk as well as plans for new, stronger measures in the future and highlighted the need for equity in these measures on both sides of the border. Strong protections are needed for right whales, and we believe that only broad-based measures will be effective and resilient to changes in whale distribution, ecological conditions, fishing effort, and shipping patterns over time.

Over the next few months, we will coordinate with Canadian officials on future gear marking schemes in order to improve the ability to identify the source of gear seen on or retrieved from large whales along the eastern seaboard. We will also continue to work with them to identify data and management gaps that are impeding recovery of right whales both in Canada and in the U.S.

Together, we are working to reduce to the maximum extent possible the risk of North Atlantic right whale entanglements in fisheries while ensuring sustainable fisheries and trade.

And while we are working on the transboundary issues, we are also working full speed ahead here at home. Just last week, we began a series of eight public scoping meetings across affected states to collect public comment on this issue. The agency will then compile the information gathered from the public meetings, along with measures created by Maine and other New England states, to develop a proposed rule under the Marine Mammal Protection Act that will further reduce risks to North Atlantic right whales. Although ambitious, we are aiming to have a proposed rule drafted by the end of the calendar year and hope to have it available for public comment in early 2020.

Chris Oliver
Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries

Related Articles

Melges 24 World Championship Villasimius preview
The biggest, most major event of the season is three weeks away To registration closing date on September 15 the entry list includes the participation of 62 teams representing 15 nations of three continents, among them besides European teams inclusions from Singapore, Canada and the United States. Posted on 17 Sep
Graduates at Swarkstone
The beauty and calm of Swarkestone is very deceptive After several days of strong winds Sunday 8th September 2019 brought brilliant sunshine and a gentle force 2 to Swarkestone Sailing Club in Derbyshire for the return of the club's Graduate Open after a hiatus of seven years. Posted on 17 Sep
Solo Eastern Area Championships at Brightlingsea
The odd lift turns the starting order upside down Brightlingsea Sailing Club hosted the Solo Eastern Area Championships for the second consecutive year. 14 Solos arrived, despite a forecast for very light winds. Posted on 17 Sep
420 Autumn Championship preview
36 boats booked in already for Rutland The 420 class start their programme of autumn and winter events next weekend, with their Autumn Championships at Rutland Sailing Club. Posted on 17 Sep
Argo Group Gold Cup to rejoin WMRT
12 teams expected to battle for the King Edward VII Gold Cup Event organizers at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club are also pleased to welcome back Argo Group, an international underwriter of specialty insurance and reinsurance, as the title sponsor. Posted on 17 Sep
Fridays For Future joins The Ocean Race Summit
Youth movement to join global ocean experts at key Italian conference They will share the stage with politicians, professional sailors, business leaders and a host of experts examining the vital role business has to play in stemming the flow of plastic into our seas. Posted on 17 Sep
Major new feature aboard Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
32-metre giant returns to her technical base for a few weeks Following a very busy summer, which saw the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild secure her first victory in the Rolex Fastnet Race, the 32-metre giant returned to her technical base for a few weeks on 26 August. Posted on 17 Sep
Perth SC Points Series update
Plus rowing the skiff 'The Silvery Pearl' On Saturday there was brisk force 5 on the water and rather unusually for the club, no sailing boats were out on the water. Instead, many members turned out assisting in the commissioning of the Rowing Skiff "The Silvery Pearl". Posted on 17 Sep
The Clipper Race Leg 1, Race 2, Day 2
Fleet splits in search for wind The Clipper Race fleet is experiencing dramatically different conditions in the first couple of days of Race 2: The Commodore's Cup, compared to those faced in the first race; very light and downwind. Posted on 17 Sep
Teams and organisers set the race on track
The Ocean Race 2021-22 edition discussed in Alicante Workshop and information sessions were held on topics such as technology on board the VO65 and IMOCA 60 fleets, rule compliance, commercial and marketing opportunities, sustainability and marketing and communications. Posted on 17 Sep