Ocean and Coastal Wildlife and Habitat

BNEC uses law, policy, and science expertise to ensure healthy marine life, robust ocean ecosystems, sustainable fisheries, and protected marine and coastal habitat.


 
Atlantic mackerel - Photo credit NOAA Fisheries

Atlantic mackerel - Photo credit NOAA Fisheries

Forage Fish

It’s all connected! Sustainable, ecosystem-based management of forage fish is the key to a healthy ocean ecosystem. We have worked at the Mid Atlantic Fisheries Management Council, the New England Fisheries Management Council, and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to ensure fisheries on forage species are done in a manner that considers the best available science and the needs of the entire ocean ecosystem. We have also worked to ensure a prohibition on fishing unmanaged forage species until the science determining sustainability has been considered.

 
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Marine Mammals

 
 
North Atlantic right whale - Photo credit NOAA fisheries

North Atlantic right whale - Photo credit NOAA fisheries

 
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Photo credit - matthew chenet photography

Photo credit - matthew chenet photography

 
Atlantic Oysters

Atlantic Oysters

Endangered Species

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world with less than 400 individuals and 95 breeding females remaining in the population. There has been a marked increase in fatalities in 2017-2019 and a decrease in reproduction and calving. The main causes of death and sub-lethal harm are entanglement in fishing gear. Another major threat is death and blunt force trauma from ship strikes. In the US, new vessel speed restrictions have improved interaction frequency and severity. In addition, right whales mothers and calves rely on close communication with their young to keep them alive. They are subjected to an almost constant barrage of ocean noise from ships and seismic testing.

BNEC works to ensure that fisheries use the most innovative technologies to limit entanglements with

 

Ocean Ecosystems and Sustainable Fisheries

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Coastal and Nearshore Habitats

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Oysters

Oysters are habitat! They are habitat for crabs and juvenile fish that grow into ecologically and economically valuable fish populations. Just one oyster can filter up to 30 gallons of water a day. Every oyster in the water helps, whether it be in a sanctuary, an aquaculture lease, or through augmented wild harvest oyster populations. A healthy oyster population benefits marine wildlife, a oyster fishermen and farmers, coastal communities, and consumers because the are delicious! Our coastal oyster populations are a mere fraction of their historic levels. Most oysters that you see on your plate are from aquaculture or from wild harvest that is closely monitored and through transplant of baby oysters called spat. Improved harvest limitations and aquaculture practices will increase near shore habitat while simultaneously supporting local oystermen, oyster farmers, and coastal communities. We