Animals, News

US Group Says Canadian Lobster Traps Are Endangering Whales

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North Atlantic Right Whale mother and calf. Image from the US government
North Atlantic Right Whale mother and calf. Image from the US government

Canada has failed to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale by allowing the use of old-fashioned methods to catch lobsters and crabs, according to an environmental group in the United States.

Many Canadians who fish for lobsters and crabs use nets, traps and ropes that can tangle up whales and accidentally capture other sea creatures, they say.

The magazine on earth is published by The Natural Resources Defense Council in the US. In a recent article they said Canada has no regulations to protect the endangered right whale from the old-fashioned fishing methods.

In the US, lobster catchers must use groundlines. Groundlines sink to the bottom of the sea so they don’t accidentally capture whales.

In 2012, it seemed that the number of right whales was going up. However, partly because of the lobster and crab fishing methods used in Canada and other countries, there are only a few hundred left in the wild.

Right whales are the rarest of all large whales, according to National Geographic magazine.

The Natural Resources Defense Council said that regulations which have been introduced by the U.S. have greatly reduced the number of “accidental” captures of sea creatures such as whales.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
There are many different sides to this issue. To explore the different sides, set up a mini debate in your class or with a group of friends.

One side needs to take on the role of the environmentalist who believes that Canada should have regulations to protect the right whales. The other side needs to take on the role of the Canadian fishermen and fisherwomen who have been using the traditional method of fishing for years and don’t want to change.

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
The last sentence of this article states, “The Natural Resources Defense Council said that regulations which have been introduced by the U.S. have greatly reduced the number of “accidental” captures of sea creatures such as whales.”

Why do you think the word “accidental” was written using quotation marks? What tone of voice and what meaning do you think the journalist was trying to get across by surrounding this word using quotation marks?

Junior
Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Intermediate
Develop and explain interpretations of oral texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Silent Letters
The English language can be tricky! Often words are spelled differently than they sound. Sometimes this is because of silent letters. Silent letters are letters that you don’t pronounce when you say a word aloud. For example, in the word “whale”, the ‘h’ is silent.

Think of at least 10 words that have silent letters in them.