“We have sued Brookfield over its ESA violations on the Kennebec,” Mahoney said. “In light of Brookfield’s disregard for the ESA on the Penobscot as well, we need to consider all available options to ensure it meets its legal obligations. And that holds true for the federal agencies – FERC and NOAA Fisheries – responsible for enforcing Brookfield’s hydropower license and compliance with the Act.”
“This decision rejects the lobster industry’s attempts to distract from the overwhelming scientific evidence that entanglements have killed far too many right whales for far too long,” said Erica Fuller, a senior attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “It took the Fisheries Service five years to finalize a rule that only reduced lethal entanglement risk by 50% when the science shows 90% is needed. This species doesn’t have another five years to wait for the agency to comply with the law.”
“The survival of the species cannot wait for endless debate on new protections,” said Erica Fuller, senior attorney at CLF. “The judge made it clear that the federal government needs to go back to the drawing board and meaningfully address all of the impacts of the lobster fishery on right whales. Today’s ruling will put a stop to the government’s endless foot-dragging on implementing new long term protections.”
After a victory in the first phase of our lawsuit to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, now we’re asking the court for protective measures in the second phase.
“This decision confirms that even the federal government is not above the law,” said Erica Fuller, CLF Senior Attorney. “We must do whatever it takes to ensure right whales are here for future generations, and that starts with obeying the Endangered Species Act. The ruling provides an incentive for fishermen and scientists to forge a new path that protects right whales while also sustaining the lobster industry.”
After a moving encounter with a right whale, CLF member Vi Patek joined our lawsuit to protect the endangered species. Members like Vi — and you — are essential to our work going to court and defending, enforcing, and enacting important environmental protections.
In a major win for endangered North Atlantic right whales, a federal judge ruled that gillnet fishing gear must be removed from 3,000 nautical miles of ocean waters in southern New England. Opening the areas to gillnet fishing without considering harm to right whales violated the Endangered Species Act, and the gear must be removed until the required analysis is complete.
North Atlantic right whales are one of the most endangered whales on the planet. This iconic species could go extinct in our lifetime, but it’s still within our power to save them. Meet the people using the power of the law, science, and photography to save the right whale — and join us in the fight.
It’s an exciting time for offshore wind in New England, with multiple projects moving forward over the next decade. Developers can move the clean energy industry forward while protecting North Atlantic right whales by following these best practices.
Immediate action is required to save the North Atlantic right whale. Getting an accurate Biological Opinion is a key step.