Pew Submits Petition Seeking Immediate Action to Protect North Atlantic Right Whales in U.S. Waters

Pew Seeking Immediate Action to Protect Right Whales in U.S. Waters

The Pew Charitable Trusts submitted a petition to the secretary of commerce June 18 seeking emergency action to protect North Atlantic right whales from entanglement in fishing gear. Pew supports closing certain areas in waters off New England to fishing gear with vertical ropes—lobster and crab pots—during times when right whales are likely to be present. Endangered right whales are dying in much higher numbers than their population can sustain. Closing some areas to fishing with the most harmful gear could immediately lower the risk to the whales while the federal government develops longer-term rules to reduce whale entanglements in fishing gear.

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest. In the coming months, President Joe Biden and the 117th Congress will tackle a number of environmental, health, public safety, and fiscal and economic issues—nearly all of them complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To help solve specific, systemic problems in a nonpartisan fashion, Pew has compiled a series of briefings and recommendations based on our research, technical assistance, and advocacy work across America.


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