right whales

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BOSTON - The federal government is extending three protective zones designed to help endangered whales until late March. The protective areas are intended to protect North Atlantic right whales from ship strikes, which can be fatal.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

The annual Maine Fishermen's Forum is underway in Rockport, where the intertwined fates of lobstermen and endangered North Atlantic right whales are a hot topic.

Stephan Savoia / AP Images

Canadian fisheries regulators are taking new steps aimed at protecting endangered North Atlantic right whales from entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes. These steps include temporary closures of certain lobster and crab fishing areas.

New England Aquarium 2008

New acoustic monitors off Maine's coast have detected the presence of North Atlantic right whales this winter. Scientists are trying to gather new data on the endangered animals' whereabouts.

Pat Wellenbach / Associated Press/file

Maine's top fisheries regulator is telling his federal counterparts the state's lobster fleet deserves more credit for its efforts to reduce the risk of fishing gear entanglements with the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

Fred Bever / Maine Public File

Federal fisheries regulators are saying that Maine's proposed lobster gear rules, which were designed to reduce the risk to endangered North Atlantic right whales, don't go far enough.

Peter Duley / NEFSC/NOAA

Maine's congressional delegation is trying to up the pressure on federal fisheries regulators to look beyond the state's lobster industry when seeking to reduce threats to the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

The federal government is asking vessels to slow down in an area south of Nantucket because approximately one-eighth of the worldwide population of an endangered whale has been spotted nearby.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says 50 North Atlantic right whales were seen in the area on Jan. 31. The agency has enacted a voluntary speed restriction until Feb. 15. The Boston Globe reports the government is encouraging mariners not to travel faster than 10 knots.

CYNTHIA CHRISTMAN / NOAA

Court papers say a federal government plan to protect the endangered right whale is snarled in delays and won't likely be available for public comment until the summer. 

Michael Dwyer / Associated Press/file

Representatives of Maine's lobster industry are taking issue with the state’s proposal to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale from entanglements in their gear.

Amy James/Center for Coastal Studies/NOAA permit 19315-1 / via Associated Press

Conservationists say a third right whale calf has been spotted off the southeastern United States, giving them hope for the jeopardized species this winter.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

A movement is emerging among conservation groups to create a "whale-safe" seal of approval for lobster caught with new types of gear designed to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales. But it could be a tough sell in Maine, where some say the iconic fishery is already sustainable.

STEPHAN SAVOIA / AP File

Maine’s congressional delegation wants more information from the federal government before ocean managers release a new plan designed to protect endangered whales.

Pat Wellenbach / AP File

An international group of scientists, conservationists, fisheries managers and others are gathered in Portland this week for the annual meeting of what's called the North Atlantic right whale Consortium.

AMY JAMES / CENTER FOR COASTAL STUDIES/VIA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association (MLA) has voted to not support the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) right whale conservation plan.

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