WDC and its conservation partners filed a suit in US federal court today challenging the US government’s five year delay in designating additional Critical Habitat for critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. Fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales remain and their survival is threatened by vessel strikes, entanglements in fishing gear, and habitat degradation.
In 2009, WDC, in partnership with the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States and Ocean Conservancy petitioned the US government to increase federally designated Critical Habitat for right whales. After receiving no initial response to the request, the groups filed legal action in court demanding the National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency charged with protecting right whales, consider the merits of the petition. In 2010, the Service indicated that the petition was warranted and Critical Habitat should be increased for the species. However, they have taken no further action to do so.