North Atlantic right whales, one of the most endangered large whale species in the world, have suffered greatly from centuries of commercial whaling. By the early 1900s, their population had been decimated, and today, only an estimated 340 individuals remain.
These magnificent creatures earned their name as the "right" whale to hunt, as they swim slowly near shore and their blubber-rich bodies allow them to float when dead. They are characterized by their stocky, black bodies, lack of dorsal fins, and bumpy patches of rough skin, known as callosities, on their heads.
Among the two primary causes of death and injury for North Atlantic right whales, vessel strikes pose a significant threat, alongside entanglements. To address this issue, NOAA Fisheries has proposed amending an existing 2008 vessel speed regulation. This amendment aims to minimize the risk of lethal vessel collisions and could potentially reduce vessel strike deaths by up to 90%. Considering there are only around 340 North Atlantic right whales remaining, slowing down vessel speeds represents one of the species' greatest hopes for survival.
Through our unwavering commitment to advocacy, legal battles, and garnering public support, we will continue to oppose anyone who poses a threat to these magnificent creatures.
“We need seasonal slowdowns to protect right whales in danger zones, just like we have lower speed limits to protect children near schools. Slowing down is the best way to reduce accidental collisions and protect both whales and human safety. NOAA Fisheries’ science-based rule is vital to the survival and recovery of this iconic species."