North Atlantic Right Whales
Vessel strikes are one of the most common causes of death for critically endangered North Atlantic right whales off the east coast of the USA. With less than 400 of these whales remaining, the loss of just one individual threatens the future of the entire species. Yet, since 2004, at least nine right whale deaths have resulted from vessel strikes.
The whales rely on feeding grounds in the Gulf of Maine and their only known calving area is in the Southeastern United States, off the coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. These areas, along with the migratory corridor connecting them, are important areas for commercial shipping, fishing and whale watching and are also used by recreational boaters.
WDCS works as part of a coalition of groups, including the Right Whale Consortium
, to form a strong collective voice pressuring the US government to enact a rule forcing vessels to slow down in times and areas right whales are present. We are supporting the establishment of an Area to be Avoided in a critical feeding area east of Cape Cod and we are pressing for further monitoring of the whales to aid sightings data gathered by whale-watching vessels.