Threat to North Atlantic right whales

The vast majority of ships are racing in areas designated for the protection of North Atlantic right whales, a species on the verge of extinction, according to a new study published on July 21, 2021.

“Those responsible are not responsible enough for their actions”

The NGO Oceana analyzed the speeds of ships and boats between 2017 and 2020 in areas established by the U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), along the Atlantic coast of the United States. Non-compliance reached almost 90% in areas with mandatory speed reductions, while non-cooperation was close to 85% in areas where such reductions were not mandatory. Collisions with ships are one of the two main causes of injuries and deaths of North Atlantic right whales, also known as North Atlantic right whales. Research has shown that reducing the speed of ships to 10 knots (18.5 km / h) reduces the risk of death by 80 to 90%. “Ships are speeding, North Atlantic whales are dying, and officers are not responding enoughsaid Whitney Webber, campaign manager at Oceana.

The analysis was based on speed and location data collected by Global Fishing Watch, an NGO founded by Oceana in partnership with Google and SkyTruth. Two-thirds of fast ships fluttered foreign flags, while freighters were the main culprits. The study focused on vessels more than 20 meters away, as they are required to continuously broadcast their position. But smaller boats can also be fatal to whales.

Less and less population

In February 2021, the NOAA announced that a calf had died from injuries following a collision with the propellers of a recreational fishing boat. “The problem is to kill even one, because scientists believe that even one human-caused death of a North Atlantic right whale endangers the chances of survival.“said Whitney Webber.

Whalers in the past have especially valued North Atlantic right whales because of their proximity to the coast, low swimming speed, and the fact that they floated when they were dead. The hunt that the species survived brought it to the brink of extinction in the early 20th century. In the 20s, only about 100 remained. North Atlantic right whales were banned in 1935, prompting the number of specimens to drop to 483 – a number that is now declining.

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