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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.”
Oysters are the unsung heroes of our oceans and estuaries. A single oyster can filter 50 gallons of water each day, while oyster reefs help protect coastal communities from erosion and storm surges and provide other marine species with habitat. In Pensacola, FL, The Nature Conservancy is leading the effort to place 33 oyster reefs […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer A new study has found that half of the nation’s tidal marshes are at risk of being destroyed by sea-level rise, most of them along the southern coasts of the contiguous U.S. Now, members of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, whose one million residents live along coastal areas stretching from Jacksonville, North Carolina, to […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer St. Petersburg, Florida, has fallen victim to what could be one of the most prolonged red tides in recent history. Hundreds of tons of dead sea life have washed up on shores as the ecological disaster takes root, and experts say the end isn’t yet in sight. Officials are trying to pinpoint […]
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