Stephan Savoia/AP file photoA North Atlantic right whale breaks the ocean surface off Provincetown in Cape Cod Bay.

US Senators call for review of Canada's right whale protections

Both Massachusetts senators are again calling for NOAA Fisheries to investigate Canada’s North Atlantic right whale protections and, if found lacking, consider banning imports of some Canadian fishery products into the United States.

In a letter to Neil Jacobs, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Sens. Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren said Canada has retreated from some of the whale protection measures it has enacted since 2017.

They said the rollbacks include reducing the season-long snow crab closure by 63%, removing a vessel speed-restriction zone and triggering other area closures and vessel speed-restriction zones only when right whales are observed.

“Consequently, of the 10 right whale mortalities documented in 2019, nine occurred in Canadian waters,” the two senators wrote to Jacobs. “Both the United States and Canada must make rigorous and concerted efforts to save this important species. Because the burden of reducing risk to right whales falls substantially on fishermen, it is essential that we understand whether U.S. and Canadian fishermen are being held to the same high standards.”

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