November 08, 2019
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Federal judge bars certain fishing gear from Mass. waters to protect right whales

Michael Dwyer | AP
Michael Dwyer | AP
In this March 28, 2018, file photo, a North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

A federal judge has ruled that two fishing areas off New England will remain closed to certain kinds of gear to protect an endangered species of whale.

The case was between the environmental group Conservation Law Foundation and the federal government.

Judge James Boasberg ruled the government is forbidden from allowing gillnet fishing in the two area off Nantucket until it has fully complied with the Endangered Species Act and other federal protection laws.

Gillnets are large nets designed to catch many fish at once, and they also present a risk of harming marine mammals such as the North Atlantic right whale. There are about 400 right whales left.

Conservation Law Foundation attorney Erica Fuller said the ruling “will give right whales the protection the need from fishing gear.”

 



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