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Right Whale Off the Coast of Massachusetts in 2018 Photo: Michael Dwyer, AP
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wasted no time returning from the shutdown and extended restrictions on shipping in an area off Cape Cod on the way into Boston Harbor to protect the highly endangered Northern right whale.
The “Ship Strike Rule” mandates speed restrictions of no more than 10 knots for vessels 65 feet or greater in certain locations and at certain times of the year along the east coast of the United States.
The restrictions were set to expire off the coast of Massachusetts yesterday because most of the whales should have migrated south for the winter by now.
The Internation Fund for Animal Welfare has been working to develop fishing gear innovations such as sinking or neutrally buoyant line to reduce and prevent whale entanglement, with additional innovations in the works such as “ropeless” traps with a submersible buoy that goes down with the lobster trap, is geo-trackable, and retrieved via acoustic release technology.
And there is more good news for right whales — there have been juveniles spotted off the coast of Georgia — four so far. This is not a huge number but it is an improvement over last year when not a single right whale calf was spotted.
Why This Matters:We don’t have to choose between whale conservation and offshore renewable energy. Vineyard Wind will, in addition to limiting construction activities as needed, also invest $3 million to develop and deploy innovative technologies and undertake scientific research to further safeguard the marine mammals. This is a template for additional offshore wind projects that will be developed up and down the east coast.
We know that rising ocean temperatures are causing fish stocks to migrate to cooler waters, and now we have new evidence as to why. A study by German scientists found that juvenile fish and fish that are ready to mate are especially sensitive to changes in water temperature, and as a result, up to 60 percent of all species may be forced to leave their traditional spawning areas as waters warm.
Why This Matters: Fish populations need functional habitat to survive and procreate.
By Jean Flemma and Miriam Goldstein Historically, the ocean has been overlooked in the climate debate. That makes no sense. Ignoring the 71 percent of the planet that creates more than half the oxygen we breathe and has absorbed 90 percent of the excess heat created by climate change can hardly lead to a complete […]
Why This Matters: If the waters off Virginia are suitable for wind farms, with their close proximity to ports, naval facilities, and tourism, then it is hard to imagine why wind power can’t be developed in many other areas along the U.S. coast.
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