Stephen Rappaport’s Nov. 28 article “Scientists review divisive whale risk reduction model” indicates to me that NOAA has become just another deep state bureaucracy with a political agenda rather than a fact-finding, scientifically based regulatory agency. Its Large Whale Take Reduction Team (TRT) proposes a 50 percent reduction in lobster trap to buoy vertical lines. The TRT includes nearly 60 members as follows:
- 17 – trap pot.
- 5 – gill net.
- 6 – conservation/environmental groups.
- 14 – state fishery resource managers (one from each state on the Atlantic Seaboard).
- 5 – federal resource managers.
- 4 – fishery management organizations.
- 8 – academic/scientific groups.
Instead of relying on science to determine the mortality causes of right whale deaths caused by line entanglements the TRT has decided to poll the members above to determine how they feel about their “Decision Support Tool.” This is not science, but instead politics!
Thankfully, the Maine and Downeast lobstermen’s associations withdrew their support of these actions. After 22 years of my written admonitions to them that the “right whale is merely a surrogate for the real target, you, the lobstermen,” the light bulbs finally went on. Now, three scientists are going to review the TRT’s findings. Eureka!
Here is the question that the three scientists need to answer and expose in no uncertain terms, to the public and the industry. Beginning in January 2012 and ending Sept. 30, 2019, there have been 45 right whale deaths, according to NOAA. We need to know the exact location of the deaths of the 27 in Canadian waters and the 18 in U.S. waters (within the three-mile limit and U.S. waters separately) and the exact cause of the death (ship strike, entanglements or undetermined).
The explanation cannot contain feelings about what might have happened or anecdotal evidence or comment; only then will we know for sure that the cure is far worse than the disease.