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US Federal Agency Agrees to Protect More Habitat for East Coast’s Most Endangered Whales

Thank you to all of our past, present, and future donors, supporters, and volunteers for your help in moving forward another important step toward saving the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale from extinction! 

Mother and calf right whale

We are thrilled to let you know that after five years of legal challenges, public outreach campaigns, collaborations with other conservation and animal rights organizations and two trips to Washington D.C. to meet with policy makers, we are finally another step closer to increasing critical habitat for North Atlantic right whales

This latest victory means that the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Agency charged with protecting whales, has a 2016 deadline to increase designated critical habitat for one of the world’s most endangered species! 

Why does Critical Habitat matter?

In areas designated as critical habitat, the federal government must ensure that activities including commercial fishing, vessel traffic and oil drilling will not diminish the value of the habitat or reduce this critically endangered species’ chance for recovery. Their feeding grounds in the Gulf of Maine and Canada, their breeding grounds in the warmer waters of Georgia and Florida, and their entire migration route coincide with busy shipping lanes and fisheries.  Since the primary threats to imperiled right whales are ship strikes and entanglement in commercial fishing gear, designated critical habitat is a crucial piece of the puzzle to ensure their survival.

 

Saving whales is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. 

It may seem premature to be celebrating given that the court does not even require an action for more than a year.  However, the process to “save whales” is not for those that embrace instantaneous gratification.  There is no better example of the long road of conservation than the one paved to save North Atlantic right whales from extinction. 

Decimated by whaling, right whales were first protected in 1935 but continue to struggle to recover from ongoing human causes and the very lengthy process to create management actions to protect them.  It took 14 years to secure a regulation that would reduce ship strikes and 18 years later we are still working to adequately protect right whales from entanglements in fishing gear.  And nearly every step forward is met by challenges- but we keep pushing, and we ARE making a difference. 

Most importantly, we rely on you to stick with us, to keep us going, and to provide the support that whales need to get to the finish line.  For each and every one of you this latest news is your victory too, a step you helped usher forward.  Thank you!

If you haven’t already, check out our video below about the risks faced by North Atlantic right whales. 

To learn about new ways to get involved in saving the North Atlantic right whale from extinction, make sure you sign up for our newsletter by adding your email address below. 

Please support our work to protect whales and dolphins.