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May I Reiterate

Are we biting off our noses to spite our faces? The right whale may have been doomed since it was over hunted in the1920’s and 1930’s, when whaling was a way of life. Well quess what, fishing is still a way of life. The right whales are still here, and yes, they have gained in population, not by much, but since the International Whaling Commissions moratorium in the 1930’s (100 right whales), today’s population is 300-400.

Do we have a problem with entanglement? Yes. Is it the only problem? No. A range of factors has contributed to the small numbers of right whales, and whales in general. Those factors have paralleled the entanglement discussion, but remained on the sidelines — global warming, pollution, climate change and ship strikes. According to Tora Johnson’s (faculty member, College of the Atlantic) new book, Entanglements — The International Fates of Whales and Fishermen, whale calving is directly affected by climate. Some years are better for calving than others. So who is or what is the problem? Your guess is as good as the feds, probably better.

When your life is dependent upon fishing and the people who are heading up the latest whale hearings on the whale regs have been asked numerous times where the entanglements have taken place and what kind of gear was found on the whales and their answer is, “We don’t know. We’re data-starved,” well, it can set you off.

When the number of acronyms that exist in entanglement terminology almost equals the number of right whales, one might ask, “Are our taxes being well spent?”

There are many issues beyond entanglements that affect the whale population, so why is there so much focus, energy, time, money being directed on the entanglement issue? Could it be because fishermen are an easy target?

Once again, I reiterate: what about global warming, pollution, climate change and ship strikes, the Canadian government’s lax enforcement on the same issues that U.S. fishermen are called on, and past whaling history?