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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.”
Today marks the 4th birthday of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument which was created by President Obama in 2016. The monument is the first fully protected marine area in the US Atlantic Ocean and is special because it home to precious marine ecosystems and species like fragile deep-sea corals, diverse schools of fish […]
by Dr. Gareth Lawson The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument holds a special place in my heart. This monument, designated by President Obama four years ago this week, protects crucial marine habitats for incredible species, from whales to corals, along the edge of the New England continental shelf. Unfortunately, this monument is currently […]
The New York Times reported late last week that federal prosecutors are pressing charges against a ring of a dozen people and two businesses on opposite coasts for running a multimillion-dollar organization involved in international money laundering, drug trafficking, and illegal wildlife trade in shark fins.
Why This Matters: As the World Wildlife Fund reports, around 100 million sharks may be killed annually for their fins and many are sold on the black market. Illegal wildlife trafficking is growing because international criminal networks are able to exploit weaknesses and gaps in international law enforcement.
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