CANADIAN LOBSTER AND CRAB FISHERIES ACCUSED OF ENDANGERING WHALES

balena2Canada’s lobster and crab fisheries pose an “extinction-level threat” to the endangered North Atlantic right whale, according to a new U.S. report calling for an American boycott of “negligent” foreign fish supplies.

The wide-ranging study of at-risk sea mammals by the Natural Resources Defense Council lists Canada first among foreign offenders, accusing Ottawa of failing to match U.S. regulations aimed at easing the plight of the right whale, fewer than 500 of which are believed to exist.he report, titled Net Loss: The Killing of Marine Mammals in Foreign Fisheries, claims strict U.S. laws have achieved a 30 per cent reduction in bycatch — untargeted sea life killed or injured by entanglement in fishing gear — since 1994, with little or no comparable progress elsewhere.

Yet, with the U.S. importing an estimated 91 per cent of its total seafood supply — Canada and China are among the top providers, each with annual shipments approaching $1 billion — nearly all the fish that ends up on American dinner tables is caught in violation of federal U.S. law, the report concludes.

The report cites other at-risk species worldwide, including the New Zealand sea lion, the Mediterranean sperm whale and Spinner dolphins ensnared in the Indian and Sri Lanka tuna industry.

Close watchers of the Canadian seafood industry welcomed, in general terms, the thrust of the NRDC report. But some were wary of the call for a U.S. boycott, saying blanket criticism of the Canadian lobster and crab fisheries is misplaced.The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans was expected to make a statement on the NRDC report later Tuesday.

 

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