Lawmakers Applauded for Stepping Up to Help Save Critically Endangered Right Whales

The future critically endangered North Atlantic right whales is hanging in the balance, but lawmakers are taking action towards ensuring they don’t disappear forever.

Once considered the “right” whales to kill, North Atlantic right whales were so heavily exploited they were nearly hunted to extinction. Even though they were protected under the Endangered Species Act decades ago, and kept safe from being slaughtered with a moratorium on commercial whaling, they have yet to recover.

There are now only estimated to be about 420 left in existence, making them one of the most endangered whales on earth, and scientists now estimate they could be functionally extinct by 2040 if we don’t take urgent action to save them.

Sadly, these gentle giants continue to face a barrage of modern-day threats ranging from pollution and energy exploration to climate change, but entanglements in fishing gear and ship strikes are now believed to be the biggest threats to their survival.

For whales who become entangled, it can be a slow and painful way to die. Becoming entangled in gear can cause injuries and infections, and make it difficult or impossible for them to eat, while having to drag it causes them to expend far more energy than they would otherwise, which can also make feeding harder and lead to them slowly starving to death if they don’t drown first.

Since the summer of 2017, 20 deaths have been documented off the coasts of the U.S. and Canada, which were pretty catastrophic for a population that’s so small, but combined with fewer births over the years the problem is even bigger and has raised concerns about their ability to withstand these ongoing pressures.

Although they had a small baby boom, with seven calves sighted so far this year, their future is still uncertain.

Now, however, lawmakers are taking action with the introduction of the Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (SAVE) Right Whales Act (HR 1568). The bill, which was just introduced by Representatives Seth Moulton and John Rutherford, would ensure funding for public and private partnerships working on the development of urgently needed technology and other innovations intended to prevent ship strikes and entanglements in fishing gear.

“Time is running out to protect the North Atlantic right whale, and the American people are not going to let this iconic species permanently disappear from our oceans. The SAVE Act is a bipartisan agreement that extinction is not an option. We applaud Representatives Moulton and Rutherford for moving us swiftly in the right direction, and we hope the other members of Congress will join them in this urgent work,” said Martin Hayden, Vice President of Policy and Legislation at Earthjustice.

TAKE ACTION!

You can help by signing and sharing the petition urging Congress to take an important step to secure a future for right whales by passing the SAVE Right Whales Act.

Photo credit: Christin Khan/NOAA

69 comments

Richard B
Richard Byesterday

Thank you

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Jennifer H
Jennifer H6 days ago

Well it is a step.

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Michael Friedmann
Michael F7 days ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Mark Turner
Mark T7 days ago

Ty.

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Marija M
Marija M9 days ago

tks for sharing

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara9 days ago

th

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Mona P
Mona Pietsch9 days ago

Petition signed

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Carole R
Carole R9 days ago

A small step but it helps to save these whales.

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Colin C
Colin C9 days ago

Thank you Reps Moulton and Rutherford

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salah z
salah zoubiri10 days ago

Good

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