Better protections needed to save the North Atlantic Right whales

Every time one of these critically endangered whales dies, their species slips closer to extinction.

Oceans

Mary Katherine Moore

Every time one of these critically endangered whales dies, their species slips closer to extinction.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), only one North Atlantic Right whale can die every year if their species is to survive. Two have died already this year — and this year’s productive birthing season still wasn’t enough to restore their struggling populations. These whales need dramatic protections, but NOAA’s newly announced regulations — aimed at reducing the “risk of death and serious injuries caused by entanglement” with fishing lines by 69% — aren’t enough to save them. 

“By our reading, the net effect of these rules will be to delay the extinction of this beautiful, massive creature,” said Environment America Conservation Program Director Steve Blackledge. “What we need is a plan to save it.”

“We’re calling on NOAA and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to respond to our petition and use emergency powers to close key right whale habitats to fishing.”

Read more.

Photo: Entanglement in fishing lines is largely contributing to the North Atlantic Right whales’ decline toward extinction. Credit: NOAA Photo Library via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

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