“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.”
“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.”
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.”
“With an extinction crisis unfolding in real-time, this decision is necessary for the recovery of North Atlantic right whales,” said Erica Fuller, senior attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “The fact is, this area wasn’t chosen at random. It’s an area where science showed a deadly trifecta of dense lobster gear, heavy lines, and whales for a few months of the year. The court made the right call in reaffirming the decision, which will have a significant impact on this dwindling whale population.”
Learn how transitioning to ropeless fishing gear offers an alternative that could recover right whales and preserve the livelihood of New England’s iconic lobstermen and women.
“Reducing entanglements by prohibiting fishing in this area is critical to ensuring the survival of right whales,” said Erica Fuller, a senior attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “This decision affirms that science matters. The First Circuit got it right: entanglements often can’t be traced, so where whales, lots of lines, and heavy fishing lines coincide, we need fishing restrictions now.”
“At this juncture, the fact NMFS hasn’t already addressed deaths due to vessel collisions is beyond incomprehensible,” said Erica Fuller, a senior attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “We hope this will force the agency to take emergency action rather than wait until next spring to start a new rule-making process. That kind of delay does little to protect the moms traveling up and down the coast now.”
“We cannot allow this downward spiral to continue,” said Erica Fuller, Senior Attorney at CLF. “Like the now extinct passenger pigeon, scientists are getting better and better at counting fewer and fewer whales. It’s time to stop pointing fingers and put meaningful protections in place so whales are no longer needlessly killed by boats and fishing gear. Right whales can recover; we just need to stop killing them.”