North Atlantic Right Whales in Peril 

The North Atlantic right whale could be extinct by 2040 if we don’t act quickly. Once a common target for whalers, the population rebounded in recent decades only to face new and increasing threats. We need all hands on deck to save right whales, right now.

CLF in Action

Saving the North Atlantic right whale is up to us: Most right whale deaths are caused by human activities. CLF has taken action to protect right whales for decades, from successfully fighting oil and gas drilling within whales’ habitats, to ensuring offshore wind projects don’t cause harm, to taking on the federal government to protect whales from threats posed by commercial fishing gear.

But gear and fishing efforts have changed over the years, and so have the risks to the fragile whale population. That’s why CLF is ramping up our efforts in the fight to save this species. We have the legal expertise necessary to pressure fishery regulators to implement long-term solutions.

It’s not just the right thing to do – it’s the law. Federal agencies have a legal duty to protect right whales from commercial fishing threats, and CLF will hold them accountable.

What’s at Stake

2017 was a heartbreaking year for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. With barely 410 whales remaining, even one death threatens the species’ existence. Tragically, the number of right whale deaths in 2017 reached 18 – an urgent crisis that requires an all-hands-on-deck approach.

We know that entanglement in fixed fishing gear such as lobster pots, gillnets, and hook-and-line gear accounts for a staggering 85 percent of right whale deaths in recent years. Given an already decimated population, this human-caused harm is unacceptable. We believe it’s also preventable.

In addition to holding the federal government accountable for its duty to protect right whales from harm caused by commercial fishing gear, CLF will push for more collaboration and action from all key players to do whatever it takes to restore the right whale population to healthy and thriving numbers. Extinction is forever – and we will not let the magnificent North Atlantic right whale disappear from New England’s ocean waters on our watch.