Emergency Right Whale Protections Still Needed to Reverse Declines
Pew, partners seek response from commerce secretary on request for urgent action
On Nov. 9, The Pew Charitable Trusts and its partners sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo seeking a response to a petition they submitted to her office July 22 regarding protection of critically endangered right whales. That petition called on her to prohibit the use of fishing gear that entangles right whales in certain waters off New England when the whales are likely to be present.
In September, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service—the federal agency with authority for protecting marine wildlife—issued new regulations for the lobster industry to reduce the risk of entangling right whales. However, these regulations will not do enough to reduce the risk of entanglement, so Pew and its partners continue to call for emergency closures to reverse the decline of the right whale population.