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Vessel Collisions Jeopardize Survival of North Atlantic Right Whales
by Emily Green

Scientists estimate that little more than 350 whales are left on the planet – a shockingly low number. It is our activities in the ocean – fishing, shipping, drilling, construction – that threaten the survival of this species. In the last three years, vessel strikes, in particular, have caused about half of the known or suspected deaths of right whales in the U.S. and Canada.

Press Releases
Preliminary Estimate: 366 Endangered Right Whales Remain on Earth

“These population estimates are devastating,” said Erica Fuller, Senior Attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “The outlook is grim if we do not act today. We know human activities are decimating this population, what will it take for federal fishery managers to finally take action to protect these magnificent animals?”

Press Releases
Entangled Right Whale Spotted Off New Jersey Coast

“Tragically, this is yet another dead whale swimming,” said Emily Green, Senior Attorney at CLF. “Entanglements in fishing line basically torture the whale to death and pose one of the greatest threats to the recovery of this species. Right whales can be saved, but we must make difficult decisions to protect them now or else witness their demise.”

News Clips
Judge sets deadline for right whale protection

“The judge made it clear that the federal government needs to go back to the drawing board and meaningfully address all of the impacts of the lobster fishery on right whales,” said Erica Fuller of the Conservation Law Foundation, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “Today’s ruling will put a stop to the government’s endless foot-dragging on implementing new long-term protections.”

Press Releases
Judge orders deadline for new North Atlantic right whale protections

“The survival of the species cannot wait for endless debate on new protections,” said Erica Fuller, senior attorney at CLF. “The judge made it clear that the federal government needs to go back to the drawing board and meaningfully address all of the impacts of the lobster fishery on right whales. Today’s ruling will put a stop to the government’s endless foot-dragging on implementing new long term protections.” 

Press Releases
Vessel Speed Limits Needed to Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

“Right whale recovery has been plagued by two major threats: entanglements and vessel strikes,” said Erica Fuller, Senior Attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “In the Northeast, we’ve been addressing entanglement risks for several years, and we must address the risk of ship strikes. Preventing entanglements but not vessel strikes is like paying your mortgage but not your taxes. You need to do both if you want to keep your house.”

Press Releases
Right Whales Declared Critically Endangered

“This is a barometer and the forecast for right whales could still go either way,” said CLF Senior Attorney Erica Fuller. “With a calf recently found dead of blunt trauma caused by a vessel strike, we’re one step closer to extinction. While this new status doesn’t  change legal obligations here at home, it’s a reminder that to save this species, we can’t wait any longer for necessary long term protections.”