April 26, 2019 (PROVIDENCE, RI) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement today after the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team recommended several measures that could protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales but stopped short of suggesting more significant action.
“As we speak, there are two whales entangled in fishing gear 100 miles from this meeting,” said Erica Fuller, Senior Staff Attorney at CLF. “New England’s iconic whale can be saved if we’d simply stop allowing them to be killed year after year. Reducing and weakening the lines in the water is a start, but we need to go much further, much faster. Appropriate closures and ropeless fishing need to be part of the solution.”
Fishermen, scientists, conservationists, and government agencies gathered this week to discuss new rules that could protect critically endangered right whales from harm caused by human activity. The meeting was an opportunity to reach consensus on potential solutions.
The team recommended reducing the number of lines in some New England waters and using weaker rope that is designed to break if a whale becomes entangled. CLF called for further action, including the closure of certain areas to traditional gear in order to protect right whales and incentivize ropeless fishing.
CLF experts are available for further comment.