Subject: U.S. unveils new plan to prote (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Sat, 19 Jul 1997 12:04:05 -0400 (EDT)

Right Whale:

     J. Michael Williamson
 Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <>
 Associate Professor-Science
 Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215
voice: 617.734.5200, ext. 256
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     "Wrinkles only go where smiles have been"
                  Jimmy Buffett

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 97 11:03:00 GMT 
Subject: U.S. unveils new plan to prote

U.S. unveils new plan to protect Atlantic whales

    By Allan Dowd
     PORTLAND, Maine (Reuter) - Federal regulators, under intense
pressure from New England's lobster industry, Tuesday unveiled a
less restrictive proposal to protect endangered Atlantic whales.
     The rules are designed to protect whales from entanglement
in fishing gear by requiring some equipment modifications and
prohibiting lobstering in a few areas when whales are known to
be present.
     "I don't think (the rules) are watered down ... I think
they're more workable for both the whales and the fishermen,"
said Andrew Rosenberg, the National Marine Fisheries Service's
regional administrator.
     The new proposal won initial praise from the industry and
its political supporters, who had argued a more extensive plan
unveiled this year would have cost at least $50 million and
forced many lobstermen out of business.
     "With this announcement we will be all right," said Robin
Alden, Maine's Commissioner of Marine Resources, who had
threatened to sue the federal government over its original
     Alden said the controversy had made lobstermen more aware of
the danger some gear poses for whales, in particular the
northern right whale, whose population has been reduced to an
estimated 300.
     "(The whales) now have 7,000 friends looking out for them
on the ocean," Alden said, citing a proposal to train fishermen
to assist special rescue crews that will disentangle the whales.
     Whales caught in gear can drown or be unable to eat. They
can drag a tangle of lines and lobster traps for years.
Officials hope to reduce the northern right whale's death rate
from entanglement to less than one per year.
     The fishing industry had complained they were being singled
out for regulation. Rosenberg acknowledged whales also face the
danger of being hit by ships, but said his agency cannot
regulate the shipping industry.
     "This is not just a problem for the fishing industry, it is
a problem for people who live on the East Coast and value the
(whale) resource," Rosenberg told reporters.
     The rules will also restrict the use of gillnets used off
New England and driftnets used off Georgia and Florida. The
United States will also work with Canada to coordinate whale
protection efforts.