Weak protection for vanishing whale violates law, judge says

By: Patrick Whittle –AP Writer

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – A judge says the federal government hasn’t done enough to protect a rare species of whale from lethal entanglement in lobster fishing gear, and new rules are needed to protect the species from extinction.

FILE – This Dec. 2, 2021, photo provided by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources shows an endangered North Atlantic right whale entangled in fishing rope being sighted with a newborn calf in waters near Cumberland Island, Ga. The federal government hasn’t done enough to protect a rare species of whale from lethal entanglement in lobster fishing gear, and new rules are needed to protect the species from extinction, a judge has ruled, Friday, July 8, 2022. (Georgia Department of Natural Resources/NOAA Permit #20556 via AP)

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled on Friday that the government has violated both the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act by failing to protect the North Atlantic right whale.

The whales number less than 340 in the world and have been declining rapidly in population in recent years. Boasberg’s ruling was a victory for conservation groups and a new challenge for lobster fishermen.

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