Lawsuit Pits Whales Against Lobster Fishery

In a federal lawsuit that’s bound to stir the pot in the ongoing push-pull between preserving coastal ecosystems and using them as a food source, three environmental groups are claiming that lobster gear is causing harm to three endangered species of whales in violation of the Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Protection acts.

From Maine to North Carolina, lobster fisherman and the three species of whale ply the same coastal waters, and the suit alleges that such overlap, particularly in summer and fall due to whale migration patterns, has resulted in at least 10 deaths from boat strikes and entanglement in underwater gear.

The three environmental organizations are seeking an immediate injunction against activities deemed damaging to the whales and for a new impact study to be headed up by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

While the environmental groups (The Humane Society, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society) are heavy hitters when it comes to lawsuits, they’ve picked a powerful foe. Lobster is big business here, contributing between $2.4 and 4 billion to the economy.

So does this mean less lobster on area dinner plates? There’s no way to tell yet, but it seems clear that the war of information and lobbying is only just beginning.

For more info, read the post on UniversalHub.