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New England Senators Threaten Trade Action Against Canada Over Right Whale Protections

A 4-year-old right whale entangled in heavy fishing rope 40 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida, in Feb. 2014. Photo courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, taken under NOAA Research Permit #15488

A 4-year-old right whale entangled in heavy fishing rope 40 miles east of Jacksonville, Florida, in Feb. 2014. Photo courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, taken under NOAA Research Permit #15488

A group of New England senators is calling on the U.S. government to speed up an analysis of Canada’s efforts to protect the endangered North American right whale, and to consider trade action if Canada’s rules do not prove as strong as in the U.S.

The right whale’s numbers have dropped to only 450, following an unprecedented spate of dead whales found in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence last year. The senators say U.S. fishermen have made big sacrifices to reduce impacts on the whales. Now they’re calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to investigate whether fishermen in Canada are being held to similar standards.

If not, they say, then NOAA should consider barring the import of Canadian seafood from the relevant fisheries.

Visit Maine Public Radio for the full story.