Fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales remain. 72% of known deaths are caused by humans.

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Act Right Now Top 3 threats Right whale facts About WDC

ACT RIGHT NOW

With fewer than 500 individuals remaining, the North Atlantic right whale is on the brink of extinction. The biggest threat to this species is - and always has been - humans. Historically, right whale populations were depleted to near extinction by whaling.

Today, their survival is constantly threatened by vessel strikes, entanglements in fishing gear and other man-made dangers. 72% of their known mortalities are the result of these threats.

NOW THAT NOAA KNOWS HOW WE FEEL ABOUT THE SHIP STRIKE RULE
 
WE'RE WORKING TO PREVENT LETHAL ENTANGLEMENTS TO RIGHT WHALES.

Act Right Now by signing this petition to ensure that the future is a safer place for all right whales and that they are free from the threats that prevent their survival and recovery.

Sign the petition today to urge the US Government to ACT RIGHT NOW and protect whales by expanding the Ship Strike Speed Reduction Rule to reduce the number of whales being killed by vessels, to require changes in fishing gear to reduce entanglements, and to increase designated Right Whale Critical Habitat.

WHAT ACTIONS ARE NEEDED
TO PREVENT EXTINCTION

  • Maintain the federal Right Whale Speed Reduction Rule currently set to expire December 9th, 2013.
  • Expedite the release of regulations designed to reduce the threat of entanglements in fishing gear.
  • Designate additional critical habitat to protect the whales throughout their entire migratory range.
  • Ensure that adequate resources and federal funding are allocated for right whale research and protection.

TOP 3 THREATS

  1. Vessel Strikes
  2. Fishing Gear Entanglements
  3. Habitat degradation

Help WDC save North Atlantic right whales by asking the government to do 3 simple things:

1. Maintain the speed limit and expand the area it covers

Collision with vessels is the biggest killer of right whales

Currently vessels have to slow down to 10 knots in places right whales live. Help keep the rule from expiring this December. Data show that risk of fatality from collisions is greatly reduced when vessel speed is reduced to 10 knots. For that reason in 2008, NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service enacted a 10 knot rule, requiring vessels 65ft (20m) and larger to travel no faster than 10 knots in seasonal areas where right whale live. However, this rule was released with an unprecedented 'sunset clause', meaning that if no further action is taken to keep the rule in place it will expire on December 9, 2013. NOAA has said the rule is working; help us keep it in place!

2. Take urgent action to reduce deaths and injury from fishing gear

Fishing gear kills and injures right whales

Whales who become entangled in nets and lines can suffer horrific injuries and a slow and painful death. Modifications to current fishing gear would help, but this process is happening too slowly. Help reduce the amount of dangerous gear right now.

3. Expand designated areas to protect right whales throughout their entire migration route along the east coast

Protect the whales' home

Thanks to increased research and technology, we now know right whales need more space to feed, breed, socialize and raise their young. In fact, the US government agreed an expansion of designated critical habitat for right whales was needed back in 2010. Help make sure their homes are protected.

RIGHT WHALE FACTS

Right whales were hunted to the brink of extinction. Despite over 40 years of federal protections, North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) have not recovered because they share their coastal water homes with us. Human-caused impacts continue to pose daunting obstacles to the species' survival, and their population is now so small that every death is cause for serious alarm.

SEVENTY-TWO PERCENT (72%) OF THE KNOWN NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE DEATHS ARE CAUSED BY VESSEL STRIKES OR ENTANGLEMENT IN FISHING GEAR.
  • Fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales remain and the survival of this species is in jeopardy.
  • Mortality from vessel strikes and fishing gear entanglements is limiting their recovery.
  • Increased off shore industrialization negatively impacts their habitat.
  • Current protective measures are inadequate.

Habitat:

  • Right whales are found along the east coast of the US and Canada.
  • Right whales spend much of their time near bays, peninsulas and in shallow coastal waters within 30 miles of the coast.

History:

  • Right whales were once found in the waters of both the Northeast and Northwest Atlantic.
  • Hunting of North Atlantic right whales began in the 11th Century and eventually wiped out all but the remaining population along the east coast of the US and Canada.
  • They were deemed the "right" whale to hunt as they were slow moving, coastal, and floated when killed.
  • They were 'commercially extinct' (a population too small to hunt) by the early 20th century.
  • Right whales were one of the first whale species protected from hunting by a League of Nations Resolution in 1935.

Ways to Identify North Atlantic Right Whales

  • NO DORSAL FIN AND UNIQUE FLIPPERS

    They have a smooth back with no dorsal fin. Their pectoral flippers are paddle shaped.

  • V-SHAPED BLOW/SPOUT

    When exhaling, a distinctive V-shaped blow is a tell-tale sign of a right whale

  • FLUKES

    Their tails are distinctively dark, with smooth edges and a deep notch in the middle. They typically display their flukes out of the water as they dive.

ABOUT WDC

About our work:

WDC takes action to eradicate the threats that whales and dolphins face, to protect cetaceans and their natural habitats, and to educate populations on the conservation and protection of endangered or threatened cetaceans through outreach and education that connects them to our proactive efforts on a local, national and international level.

Our work combines concern for the welfare of the individual animals with efforts to ensure the protection of entire species, populations and habitats.

WDC ACHIEVES THEIR GOALS THROUGH COLLECTING ACCURATE AND PERTINENT DATA, POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING, ACTIVE CONSERVATION PROJECTS AND WORLD-CLASS SCIENCE, PIONEERING RESEARCH AND EDUCATION INITIATIVES

WDC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that welcomes volunteers, supporters and advocates to join in our efforts. WDC-NA derives over ninety percent of funding from independent contributions and dedicates an average of over eighty-two cents per dollar raised directly to programs that impact change.

Our reach:

WDC-North America manages the Whale Adoption Project – an international program that has been in existence for over 25 years. WDC (NA) created and introduced Whale SENSE, Dolphin SMART, See a Spout, and Mass Lobster programs, in addition to an annual Gulf of Maine Whale Watch Naturalist Workshop and many more programs. These conservation efforts involve the general public, federal and state agencies, conservationists, industry stakeholders, and other partners to benefit our mission to serve cetaceans and educate individuals. WDC (NA) also curates a catalogue of more than 2,500 individually identified endangered humpback whales, and a database of over 232,000 images plus more than 500,000 sightings of cetaceans off the east coast of the US. An elite and highly competitive international internship is operated by the NA headquarters of WDC.

In North America, WDC leads in pioneering approaches in research, data collection, legislative change, educational outreach, connecting conservation efforts to the leading stakeholders, government officials and the general public. WDC (NA) utilizes the presence of various whale populations to obtain data, educate others and create awareness for the need for marine conservation. Staff members are active on federally appointed committees, serve as authorities on marine mammal conservation, and collaborate with peer organizations to maximize their efforts and their impact on the public and improve marine mammal conservation.

WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation
7 Nelson Street Plymouth, MA 02360
1-888-MY WHALE
contact@whales.org
whales.org

5 REASONS TO
ACT RIGHT NOW...

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Fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales remain. 72% of known deaths are caused by humans.

You can help save them from extinction...