“Since 2017, at least 95 critically endangered right whales have been killed or injured by preventable human causes. Yet nothing has been done to reduce deadly vessel strikes. Right whales have been on this planet for millions of years and we are at risk of losing this entire species because of bureaucratic red tape. That cannot be allowed to continue.”
“A newborn calf spends most of the first few months of its life on the surface with its mother,” said Erica Fuller, senior attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “Given that these whales are tough to see under the best of circumstances, slowing boats down is the only way to prevent collisions like those that have killed whales, injured people, and caused major vessel damage in the past.”
“This downward spiral must be stopped,” said Erica Fuller, Senior Attorney at CLF. “It’s time to put meaningful protections in place so whales are no longer needlessly killed by boats and fishing gear. The federal government needs to step up and do what’s right. Critically endangered right whales can recover, we just need to give them a chance.”
Last year, a one-month-old right whale calf died when hit by a sportfishing boat off the coast of Florida. The calf’s mom, named “Infinity,” was also struck and is believed to have perished. The strike forced the captain to seek out a landing to get his passengers to safety – managing to get his boat… Continue reading Take Action: Tell NOAA You Support New Rules to Protect Right Whales
“This decision epitomizes short-term thinking that will only cause problems in the long run,” said Erica Fuller, Senior Attorney at CLF. “It’s simply backwards to choose areas for offshore wind development before doing a full environmental analysis, which would ultimately save time and money if done now. It is critical to advance offshore wind to respond to the climate crisis and clean up our electric grid, but it must be done in a science-based, inclusive and transparent way.”
“This decision rejects the lobster industry’s attempts to distract from the overwhelming scientific evidence that entanglements have killed far too many right whales for far too long,” said Erica Fuller, a senior attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “It took the Fisheries Service five years to finalize a rule that only reduced lethal entanglement risk by 50% when the science shows 90% is needed. This species doesn’t have another five years to wait for the agency to comply with the law.”
A federal judge has rejected a bid by lobstermen and the state of Maine to block new rules aimed at protecting endangered North Atlantic right whales.
Fewer than 350 North Atlantic right whales remain on the planet today and that makes an encounter with one a rare experience. Yet, sadly, the entanglement scars that about 85% of these precious creatures carry on their bodies are far from rare. A solution is in the works that could allow whales and lobstermen to coexist: ropeless gear.
As the federal government takes action to restore and conserve our nation’s lands and waters, strengthening protections for National Marine Sanctuaries must be a priority.
“Given the glacial pace of new right whale protections over the last decade, immediately curtailing the second biggest threat to their existence would be a game-changer,” said Erica Fuller, senior attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “This proposed rule is a major step forward, but there’s a five-month gap in protection south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket that should be addressed. Federal officials must now get these protections in place on the water as quickly as possible and effectively enforce them.”