Decades after the end of commercial whaling, there are still pitifully small numbers of right whales. NOAA estimates that only 300 individuals are left. This means extinction in no more than 200 years, and probably far less.
The existance of the right whale is made even more precarious because ships speed through their habitat and often strike and kill them. Here’s a one-year-old right whale that was struck by a ship in 2006, and hasn’t been seen since.
A new rule is being considered that would slow ships down and reduce the number of whale strikes within 20 nautical miles of port. (It was supposed to be 30 miles, but the Vice President’s office blocked the rule until protection was reduced.)
The comment period is now open, and the New England Aquarium’s Right Whale Blog is encouraging people to comment. Tell the National Marine Fisheries Service that you favor protecting right whales against ship strikes (or tell them that you want ships to kill the last 300 whales, if you are eeeeevil). The regulators have to read and respond to every single comment, so your quick email really will be part of the process.
Send your comment to shipstrike [dot] eis [at] noaa [dot] gov through September 29.
Then enjoy this happy right whale video. See how happy you have made the right whale?