Posts tagged: National Marine Fisheries Service

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

National Marine Fisheries Service

    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Featured Campaigns

Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.


unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

View Brian Smith's blog posts
09 April 2012, 3:59 PM
And we should protect them
Menhaden are a key forage fish threatened by overfishing.

When you ask a 4-year-old, “What do big fish eat?,” the answer comes easily, “Little fish!”

A new report by the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force entitled Little Fish, Big Impact confirms the wisdom of the 4-year-old -- big fish do eat little fish.

Why is this finding significant?

Little fish (forage fish) play an essential role in the marine food web.

1 Comment   /  
View John McManus's blog posts
27 January 2012, 2:32 PM
Whales, other creatures imperiled by Navy's insensitivity
Grey whales are among the creatures threatened by sonar testing.

Environmental groups and some Indian tribes, represented by Earthjustice, have gone to court to get the U.S. Navy to change the way it trains off the West Coast to avoid harming whales, dolphins and porpoises.

The Navy currently has a permit from the National Marine Fisheries Service, allowing it to train from Northern California to the Canadian border. In its training, the Navy uses all kinds of weapon and surveillance tools, including mid-frequency sonar. This is super high-powered sonar blasts used to “see” underwater. The sound waves bounce off objects like the seafloor or enemy subs and the echo is picked up and read by the Navy ships.

The problem is that the high-powered underwater sound blasts can harass, injure or kill whales, dolphins and porpoises, which are already extremely sensitive to sound. These animals send and receive sound waves to “see” and communicate underwater. Their ability to pick up sound is so good that some whales can hear each other under water hundreds of miles apart.

2 Comments   /  
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
17 November 2011, 3:27 PM
“A lot of people have no idea that many of these ocean species are so badly depleted.”
Steve Roady speaks about Earthjustice's oceans litigation.

Intro: This is the first in a series of Q and As on Earthjustice’s oceans work, which works to prevent habitat loss and overfishing, as well as reduce the impacts of climate change on the ocean. Earthjustice’s Oceans Program Director Steve Roady has been litigating cases that help protect our oceans for more than a decade. Check out for more information.

Jessica Knoblauch: What first drew you to oceans management work?
Steve Roady: I was first exposed to the oceans while growing up on Florida’s Gulf coast. I spent a lot of time on the beaches as a child and was always fascinated by the shrimpers. But I really first became aware of the key problems in the environment in middle school where we were all forced to read Rachel Carson’s classic book, Silent Spring. The idea that birds were dying because of DDT was just amazing to me and it really got me thinking about environmental issues.
JK: How does Earthjustice use the law to protect oceans?
SR: Earthjustice is one of the leading groups to begin looking at oceans’ problems through the lens of potential federal litigation. Basically, we work with three or four of your standard environmental laws. There’s the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the main federal fisheries act, which directs the federal government to prevent overfishing and to minimize bycatch, to protect habitat and to rebuild overfished fish populations. There’s also the National Environmental Policy Act, which mandates the federal government to carefully study the environmental effects of their actions before they take them. And we also invoke the Endangered Species Act to protect species like sea turtles, which are protected under the ESA but often killed as so-called bycatch in trawl fisheries around the country.
We invoke all of these statutes in an effort to try to curb the unrestrained fishing practices going on in federal fisheries and do our best to make sure the federal government is complying with the basic thrust of the laws that protect the ocean resource. Since we started the Ocean Law Project back in 1998, we’ve had a number of significant wins in the courts that set some significant precedents with respect to how the federal government manages ocean resources in a sustainable way. And typically we’ll have a case that we’ll bring on behalf of other groups, so if a case is won the precedent goes to everybody’s benefit.

1 Comment   /  
View Jessica Goddard's blog posts
07 October 2011, 10:07 AM
Illegal fishing practices in the Gulf of Mexico lead to death of 3,000 sharks
Texas game wardens pull in miles of netting filled with killed sharks. Source:

It was the largest shark kill the Texas game wardens had ever seen. Last week, wildlife officials discovered an estimated 3,000 sharks caught and killed in an illegal gill net off South Padre Island in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gill nets hang underwater from floats to a lead-weighted bottom line like mesh curtains, often extending up to 5 miles in length and 25 feet in depth. Notorious for their bycatch threat to sea turtles, marine mammals (such as, sea otters, dolphins and whales), sea birds, and other non-target fish, gill net possession has been illegal in Texas since 1981.
"This is by far the most sharks I have ever gotten in one load. Myself and my deck hand have been working on this boat for 15 years and have never seen this many sharks in one net,” said Sgt. James Dunks. Indeed, Texas Parks and Wildlife regulations prohibit licensed fishers from catching more than one shark per day.

View Shirley Hao's blog posts
11 July 2011, 8:39 AM
“Slow-motion stampede” grounds planes to a halt
One member of the turtle invasion poses for a dramatic photo. (Photo: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey)

Here at Monday Reads, we’ve followed the jellyfish typhoon invasion, gardening goat invasion, and wolverine invasion-of-one. Finally, we’ve reached the turtle invasion.

A few weeks ago, New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport awoke to find its Runway 4L under siege by waves of relentless reptiles. The Associated Press reported that the “slow-motion stampede” rather conveniently got underway just as the morning rush of travelers was trying to get airborne. The onslaught soon swelled to a crescendo of more than 150 diamondback terrapin turtles, plodding determinedly through treacherous territory. Where were they going, that they would risk shell and limb? Let’s just say teens on Spring Break aren’t the only ones who like to get frisky on sandy beaches.

1 Comment   /  
View Liz Judge's blog posts
18 February 2011, 4:15 PM
House lawmakers continue to slash essential protections for the American public

As I write this, members of the House of Representatives continue to debate and move their way through votes on hundreds of amendments to the chamber's government spending bill. The voting and debate has been a marathon process, stretching from morning through late at night for the last three days, and looks to carry on until late tonight or tomorrow.

Once the amendments are voted on and settled, the whole House will cast a final vote on the entire bill package with all the passed amendments. Then the Senate takes its turn, crafting a spending bill of its own. The two chambers must then confer and agree on one bill that funds the federal government by March 4 -- or the government must shut down until its spending and funding sources are settled.

The amendments that the House is currently considering are wide-ranging. They aim to cut government spending by cutting the funding streams of hundreds of government programs. So, instead of ending those programs through legislation and appropriate voting, many members of the House are seeking to delete the programs by wiping out the funds that keep them going.

View Tom Turner's blog posts
17 December 2010, 1:58 PM
Holdren lays down the law
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson

 The Hill, a beltway website, carried a piece Dec. 17, reporting on a memo issued by the White House science advisor, John Holdren, ordering all federal agencies, in no uncertain terms, to use science as the basis for decisions.

The White House memo in turn links to a directive from Holdren aimed at agency heads that spells out in some detail the principles under which they are expected to act. This is all a followup to another memo, issued by President Obama last spring, urging that scientific integrity be at the top of everyone's agenda.

This all may seem like wonkish arcanity, but it seems clear that the White House is steeling itself for the expected onslaught of attacks on--among many other things--the administration's attempts to address climate change, specifically the Environmental Protection Agency's upcoming regulations to reduce the impact of vehicles on the climate.

View Liz Judge's blog posts
20 October 2010, 11:27 AM
Nation's biggest oil spill remains a mixture of tragedy and mystery

Today, six months from the day the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded 42 miles off the Louisiana shore, much is still unknown about the effects of the nation's biggest oil spill, which gushed for 95 continuous days and spilled nearly 200 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. (See a visual timeline of the oil spill.)

In early August, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report on the whereabouts of all the oil from the spill. Its report shows that half still remains in the Gulf, unable to be removed by burning or skimming—some of it in residual forms that are tough to extract or collect (tar balls, oil washing ashore, oil buried in sand or stuck in shore vegetation), some of it dispersed by chemicals, and some dispersed naturally.

No matter in what form, that oil still exists in the Gulf and still poses a grave threat to wildlife and the health of ecosystems. Most of the dispersed oil exists in microscopic droplets floating in the depths of the Gulf waters, which serve as a breeding grounds for much ocean life in an area scientists refer to as the "deep water column."

8 Comments   /  
View Shirley Hao's blog posts
28 September 2010, 4:04 PM
Recycling of life, one shark bite at a time
Great white shark, ready for a meal. Photo: Fedorenko Gennady.

It turns out you really can get a free lunch—at least, if you're a great white shark.

A group (or, a shiver, if you prefer a more alliterative group name) of sharks found themselves presented with just such an unexpected buffet earlier this month, when a 36-foot Brydes whale (Balaenoptera edeni) was found drifting off the coast of South Africa.

Likely the tragic result of a ship strike—a major cause of injury and death to large whales, including the endangered North Atlantic right whale we're working to protect—the massive 10-ton remains was on a steady course for the shoreline, presenting a serious problem for local authorities. The recently departed whale would attract hungry sharks, which would in turn increase the likelihood of awkward shark/human encounters.

In a brilliant solution, the South African navy made the best of the whale's unfortunate death, towing it out to a remote area where the sharks could dine undisturbed—and under the close eye of scientists. Alison Kock, project leader at the Save Our Seas Shark Centre, characterized the nine-day marathon feast as "an unparalleled opportunity to document white shark behaviour." (Click on the image to advance to the next photo. Viewer discretion advised, if you're presently in the midst of your own meal.)

View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
21 July 2010, 2:05 PM
Earthjustice actions improve odds against fish slaughter

If you Google an image of a herring midwater trawler, you see a well-equipped large fishing ship. What you may not see are the massive nets that drag behind such ships - meant to capture anything in their path. No wonder local fishermen in Massachusetts are having a hard time competing. Most of their catch is being scooped up by these nets.

Well, today (7/21) Earthjustice scored big—three times over—in the struggle to keep trawling ships from continuing to deplete fisheries of groundfish (including cod, haddock, flounder and sole).

12 Comments   /