While U.S. lobstermen sacrifice to save endangered species, Canada’s fisheries must be held to same standard, Senators write


Washington (November 15, 2019) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) this week sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reiterating a request for a comparability study of U.S. and Canadian regulations to protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. Ten right whales – more than two percent of the estimated remaining population – were killed this year, nine of which were documented in Canadian waters. While U.S. lobstermen face increased restrictions to protect right whales, Canada modified or removed some of its right whale regulations this year. Senators Markey and Warren, along with nine other Senators, originally requested this comparability study in April 2018, but NOAA neither conducted the study nor responded to the request.


“The urgency of the right whale situation demands expedited action, not delay,” write the Senators in their letter to NOAA Acting Administrator Neil Jacobs. “Despite [regulations that] entail major sacrifices by Massachusetts commercial lobstermen, they remain committed to protecting right whales, a testament to their stewardship of this species… Because the burden of reducing risk to right whales falls substantially on fishermen, it is essential that we understand whether U.S. and Canadian fishermen are being held to the same high standards.”


A copy of the letter can be found HERE.


The SAVE Right Whales Act, which would fund collaborative projects between states, nongovernmental organizations, and members of the fishing and shipping industries to protect right whales, passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on November 13.