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Environment and Outdoors

Judge Rules In Favor Of Conservationists On Whale Protection

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Cynthia Christman
/
NOAA
Two right whales.

A federal judge has ruled that two fishing areas off New England will remain closed to certain kinds of gear to protect an endangered species of whale.The case was between the environmental group Conservation Law Foundation and the federal government.

Judge James Boasberg ruled the government is forbidden from allowing gillnet fishing in the two area off Nantucket until it has fully complied with the Endangered Species Act and other federal protection laws.

Gillnets are large nets designed to catch many fish at once, and they also present a risk of harming marine mammals such as the North Atlantic right whale. There are about 400 right whales left.

Conservation Law Foundation attorney Erica Fuller says the ruling "will give right whales the protection the need from fishing gear."