Right Whales Vs The Lobstering Industry

Right whales and fishing gear do not go well together. (NOAA Photo Library)

And right whales may finally get some protection:

A federal district court judge ruled last week that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to protect right whales adequately from the risks posed by lobster fishing.

It is too early to know exactly how the ruling in a lawsuit brought by a group of environmental organizations will affect the lobster industry. U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg asked those groups and NOAA to file briefs suggesting an appropriate “injunctive remedy” against further violations of the Endangered Species Act.

Good. It’s long past time for the interests of other species to be valued and considered outside a human commercial frame, and the Endangered Species Act is a powerful legal imperative to do just that. The lobstering industry is already challenged by change (and now COVID-19). Now it will also have to figure out a way to stop putting down gear that entangles and kills right whales. All this probably means a smaller industry and fewer lobstermen, which will be a rough transition. But if state and federal aid can help ease that transition, the world will become a better place for right whales (and lobster).

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