© 2023 Maine Public | Registered 501(c)(3) EIN: 22-3171529
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Scroll down to see all available streams.

Conservation Groups File Emergency Petition Calling For Closure Of Fisheries To Protect Right Whales

Stephan Savoia
Associated Press file
In this April 10, 2008, file photo, three right whale tails surface in Cape Cod Bay near Provincetown, Mass.

Three conservation groups are petitioning federal regulators to make an emergency declaration that groundfish and lobster fisheries pose an immediate threat to the survival of endangered North Atlantic right whale.

The Conservation Law Foundation and others are calling for the immediate closure of fisheries off southern New England and possibly elsewhere, where the whales are known to congregate and feed.

A federal judge already has required the federal government to finalize by May new rules for the East Coast lobster fishery aimed at taking the whales off the path to extinction. But it’s repeatedly delayed issuing a scientific analysis and preliminary rule needed for a final decision.

The conservation groups say recent findings that the whales’ numbers have dropped as low as 356, with only 70 breeding females, add urgency to the need to provide interim protections until a comprehensive new rule is issued.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.