Subject: Info: Coast Guard-Whales (fwd)

Michael Williamson (pita@whale.simmons.edu)
Thu, 8 Aug 1996 14:56:52 -0400 (EDT)

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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 96 10:59:00 UTC 0000
From: r.mallon1@genie.com
To: marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca, pita@whale.simmons.edu
Subject: Coast Guard-Whales

Coast Guard-Whales

By MICHAEL TIGHE
 Associated Press Writer
   BOSTON (AP) -- The Coast Guard must overhaul its vessel and
aircraft operations along the Eastern Seaboard because they
threaten the world's most endangered whales, the National Marine
Fisheries Service said.
   The service's opinion provides more protection for all great
whales -- including the humpback, sperm and North Atlantic right
whales -- that feed and reproduce off the East Coast.
   The opinion, which has the power of law under the Endangered
Species Act, focuses on the North Atlantic right whales, the most
endangered marine mammal in U.S. waters. There are believed to be
less than 300 left on the planet, and 12 are known to have died in
the last year solely from human actions.
   "Each mortality will further inhibit recovery of this
species," the opinion said. "Despite 50 years of protection, it
cannot be shown that this population has made any steps towards
recovery."
   All great whales except the gray whale are protected by the
Endangered Species Act.
   The opinion, issued July 22, requires the Coast Guard to make 11
changes to its nonemergency operations, including reducing vessel
speed, developing technologies to prevent collisions with whales
and implementing a warning system off the New England coast for
ships traveling through known whale habitats.
   The Coast Guard has agreed with the requirements, Margaret
Lorenz of the service's endangered species division said Monday.
Coast Guard officials did not immediately return phone calls for
comment.
   Activists dedicated to protecting endangered species said the
opinion was a first step in forcing federal and state agencies to
protect whales.
   "Much more must be done to achieve an implemented conservation
effort in the U.S. coastal waters that will effectively stop the
killing and injuring of ... endangered whales," said Max Strahan
of Boston-based GreenWorld.
   Lorenz said her agency is also developing an opinion aimed at
Navy operations along the East Coast. In addition, the service is
considering whether to close areas such as Cape Cod Bay and the
Gulf of Maine to lobster catching for several months a year while
the humpback and right whales feed and mate there.
   "We're looking at every federal action that we know of," she
said.