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.
“Roughly half of all right whale deaths are because they are run over and killed by speeding boats, and this unprecedented delay is only making matters worse,” said Erica Fuller, a senior attorney at Conservation Law Foundation. “It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to force regulators to make the common-sense decision to reduce vessel speeds in areas where right whales are present. The new administration must act quickly and avoid repeating the same mistakes of the Trump years.”
This summer, 10 right whales died, including Wolverine, the great-grandson of famous right whale matriarch Kleenex. Each whale death this year means families lost mothers, fathers, siblings, and grandchildren — a family tree that’s losing branches. Calving mothers like Kleenex are crucial to the right whales’ survival.
Seven new North Atlantic right whale calves are migrating with their mothers and other whales back up the east cost into New England and Canadian waters. But this journey is full of threats: ship strikes, noise pollution, and entanglement in fishing gear all threaten their survival. We must work to make our oceans a safe and welcoming place for right whales.