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Right whale swimming and blowing two puffs of vapor in a V shape.
Rescue Right Whales from Entanglements with the SAFE SEAS Act
Rescue Right Whales from Entanglements with the SAFE SEAS Act
Right whale swimming and blowing two puffs of vapor in a V shape.

Lobstermen and consumers should not have to cover the costs of new trap lines to rescue right whales from potential entanglements. Right Whales are a national treasure, pride of New Englanders, and sometimes companions of boaters and beach goers.

The Stewarding Atlantic Fisheries Ecosystems by Supporting Economic Assistance and Sustainability (SAFE SEAS) Act of 2022 (S.3765) will help lobstermen and women with the financial burden of this transition by authorizing grant assistance for fiscal years 2022 through 2024 to help cover the costs of compliance.

This bill aims to help lobstermen and women with the financial burden of using new trap lines that will no longer entangle whales or others.

Round-up bills, give change to rescue right whales

The $1.7 trillion spending package recently passed by Congress included a six-year pause on regulations for the lobster and Jonah crab fisheries to reduce the risk of right whale entanglement in trap pot lines. The retracting trap lines with buoys activated to surface by the lobsterman’s cell phone require more time for development and production.

The SAFE SEAS Act recognizes that it is in all of our interests to protect right whales, a national treasure and keystone species in Cape Cod Bay and sandy shore ecosystems.

The bill is vitally needed because it will expedite the deployment of line-less lobster pots, will help prevent increasing the cost of lobsters, and will free boat operators from having to steer around lobster pots to avoid propellor entanglements.

Please tell Congress why the government (and not consumers) should equip lobstermen with better trap lines that will release whales.

Rob Moir, left, and Matt Delaney, right, presented state Rep. Josh Cutler, D-Plymouth, with more than 500 comments and signatures on the importance of declaring April 24 Massachusetts Right Whale Day.

Success for right whales came Jan. 4, when outgoing governor Charlie Baker signed a bill to establish every April 24 as Right Whale Day in Massachusetts (H 3869).

The bill was filed by state Rep. Josh Cutler, D-Plymouth, in response to one family’s experience with right whales.

In 2004, a few days after Ramona Delaney’s 93-year-old grandmother had died peacefully, Ramona, with husband Matt Delaney and 14-year-old daughter Katrina, purchased an over-sand permit for their jeep and drove out through the sand dunes of Race Point at the northernmost tip of Cape Cod. A ripple in the seawater quite close-by drew their attention.

Suddenly, an enormous black head rose high above the water. Gazing their way was a huge eye the size of a softball. The right whale wheeled forward and disappeared beneath the waves. Later, a right whale breached. Its entire body came out of the water and, rotating, it splashed down on its backside sending up great curtains of spray. The right whale breached many times over the course of about an hour.

The Delaney family all felt this incredible, yet intimate encounter was a sign that Ramona’s grandmother was OK. They found the solace they were seeking when the spirit of life shined brightly in a majestic right whale on that day in April.

The Delaney family has celebrated April 24 as right whale day ever since and asked that this special day become a time when everyone can cherish North Atlantic right whales.

Ocean conservation and the preservation of whales and all marine life are the focus of the Ocean River Institute.

 

Right Whale at the State House on Beacon Hill in support of the Massachusetts Ocean Planning Act (enacted into law 2008).


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