Regulators have known for more than 20 years that vessel strikes kill right whales at an alarming rate. But to date, they haven’t put forward a real solution.
From the second they are born to their last breath, North Atlantic right whales help our climate by making our ocean more resilient. We need to push for their protection so that they can do their part in helping to create a greater future for all.
“At least 32 right whales have been killed by human activities in the last three years alone, yet the federal government is still sitting on its hands,” said Erica Fuller a senior attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation. “The window to save this species is closing, and we’re left with no other option but to file this petition. The federal government must declare this situation what it is – an emergency – and take action to protect these animals now.”
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.
“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?”
“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.”
“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.”
In 2019, Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs presented the Healthy Whale, Healthy Ocean Challenge, in partnership with CLF. Students of all ages from across New England created art, poetry, and film to raise awareness of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. We sat down with Senior Vice President Alyssa Irizarry to learn more about… Continue reading 5 Questions for Alyssa Irizarry of Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs
For centuries, Atlantic cod has been essential to New England’s identity. Yet today, you can rarely find locally caught cod in a grocery store or on a menu – because it has been fished to the brink of disaster. Here’s what it’s going to take to save New England’s founding fish.
In a major win for endangered North Atlantic right whales, a federal judge ruled that gillnet fishing gear must be removed from 3,000 nautical miles of ocean waters in southern New England. Opening the areas to gillnet fishing without considering harm to right whales violated the Endangered Species Act, and the gear must be removed until the required analysis is complete.