Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Endangered Whales Need Immediate Action

Endangered Whales Need Immediate Action

Defenders of Wildlife

Conservation and animal protection groups filed a lawsuit Oct. 31 asking a federal court in Massachusetts to hold the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) accountable for continuing to allow four federal fisheries to injure and kill endangered whales, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.

Each year, endangered whales become entangled in commercial fishing gear. Entanglement makes it harder for them to swim, feed and reproduce and it can cause a chronic infection or even drowning.

Already, 2011 has seen the death of two right whales from entanglement, as well as at least seven additional new entanglement reports for right whales. Since June alone, eight endangered humpback whales have been reported with first time entanglements.

“Every single right whale counts when it comes to ensuring the species’ survival, but the fisheries service continues to place whales at risk of injury and death,” said Sharon Young, marine issues field director for The Humane Society of the U.S. “Safeguarding the right whale from entanglements in fishing gear is a vital step towards moving this species out of the emergency room and onto the path to recovery.”

“The fisheries service is well aware that North Atlantic right whales need better protections, yet it is allowing these fisheries to continue to operate without them,” said Sierra Weaver, attorney for Defenders of Wildlife. “The fisheries service needs to take immediate action to put protections in place to make the fisheries safer. If they don’t act now, we will see the extinction of the right whale in our lifetime.”

“In an increasingly busy ocean, the survival and recovery of the North Atlantic right whale depends on protecting each individual from entanglement-related injuries and deaths,” said Regina Asmutis-Silvia, senior biologist for Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

Background:

  • The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whales, with an estimated population of less than 400 individuals. In fact, the NMFS has previously stated that the “loss of even a single individual may contribute to the extinction of the species.”

  • NMFS has cited entanglements in commercial fishing gear as one of the most significant threats to the right whale’s survival and recovery. Yet, almost every year since 2002, at least one entangled right whale has been found dead or so gravely injured that death is deemed likely.

  • In addition to right whales, fishing gear used by the American lobster, northeast multispecies, monkfish and spiny dogfish fisheries continues to injure and kill endangered humpback, fin and sei whales.

  • The lawsuit was filed by Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society of the U.S. and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society in the federal district court for Massachusetts.

See what Defenders of Wildlife is doing to make waters safer for critically endangered right whale by clicking here.

For more information, click here.

Producing avocado and almond crops is having a detrimental effect on bees. Molly Aaker / Getty Images

At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An oblique (left) and dorsal (right) photo of a female Pharohylaeus lactiferous. J.B. Dorey / Journal of Hymenoptera Research

Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Scientists believe sharks use bioluminescence to camouflage themselves. Jérôme Mallefet

Scientists have newly photographed three species of shark that can glow in the dark, according to a study published in Frontiers in Marine Science last month.

Read More Show Less
A FedEx truck travels along Interstate 10 by the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm near Palm Springs, California on Feb. 27, 2019. Robert Alexander / Getty Images

FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.

Read More Show Less
Empty freeways, such as this one in LA, were a common sight during COVID-19 lockdowns in spring 2020. vlvart / Getty Images

Lockdown measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic had the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around seven percent, or 2.6 billion metric tons, in 2020.

Read More Show Less