The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently announced the continuation of its ongoing rulemaking process to expand critical habitat for North Atlantic right whales in response to a single rulemaking petition filed in September 2009 by five environmental groups - the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society of the United States, the Ocean Conservancy, and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. NMFS expects to publish a critical habitat rule in the second half of 2011.
The article discusses the potential adverse impacts on the fishing industry due to this petition. If it is in any degree successful, many fishermen who are currently free from right whale rules can expect an added layer of costly and frustrating federal regulation. Additionally, the authors suggest that developing a strategy and presenting a realistic assessment of these expanding costs across much broader areas is essential.