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Injured Right Whale Dragon Photo: Northeast Fisheries Science Center
USA Today reported late Friday that government scientists have spotted off 45 miles off the coast of Nantucket a 19-year-old female right whale named “Dragon” appears to be in poor health because of a fishing buoy lodged in one corner of her mouth. She is the second entangled right whale seen in the area south of Nantucket, where around 60 of these endangered animals are now gathered — the previous one was a 15-year-old male right whale was seen with three lines trailing from his mouth. North Atlantic Right Whales are highly endangered and only approximately 400 remain.
Why This Matters: It’s not just one or two whales — the fate of the species hangs in the balance. If this whale dies, we will lose another breeding female that was heading into her prime. We can and must do better by these magnificent creatures. An ocean without whales is like a savannah without lions. Our government spends money on so many things that are so much less impactful than saving an entire species. The technology exists to solve this problem (read on) — and it’s not that expensive. All we lack is the will to do it. This week the Boston Globe said it best in an editorial entitled “It’s the government’s duty to save right whales — and us.” Yep. C’mon Congress and NOAA. It is time to get this done.
“The first step is to fund North Atlantic right whale researchers to track the whales’ new swimming routes, believed to be caused by climate change. Such tracking would encompass local, national, and international waters, and the cooperation of governments, industries, boaters, and nongovernmental organizations to see where the whales go and establish safe boating routes.”
Finally, the government and perhaps philanthropic organizations should provide funding. “Funding — for both the research and retrofitting of the lobster industry’s gear. The first few generations of this essential technologically advanced gear will be cost-prohibitive for the men and women who have already been hard hit by federal fishing regulations (made necessary by human threats) that are destroying their livelihoods.”
One of our nation’s best-kept secrets is that we have national parks in the ocean — not right offshore — but out in the blue. And yesterday, one of them was tripled in size after years of work by non-profits, the Texas and Tennessee Aquariums, and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, that supports these blue […]
New York state selected Norwegian energy giant Equinor to build and supply clean energy from two offshore wind facilities in one of the largest renewable energy deals ever in the United States, according to Reuters.
Why This Matters: Offshore wind projects are a highly anticipated source of clean, renewable energy — but have been hard to get off the ground so far.
By Eric Schwaab, Senior Vice President, Environmental Defense Fund These are challenging times for our oceans and fisheries. Climate impacts, so evident along our coasts, in our forests, and on our farms, are even more disruptive to our oceans. Fish stocks are shifting at unprecedented rates and in unexpected ways. Fishermen are traveling farther to […]
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