Protect North Atlantic right whales before it's too late.

Today only about 360 North Atlantic right whales remain. We must act now to combat the threat of vessel collisions in U.S. waters and protect this critically endangered species.

Collisions with vessels are one of two leading causes of North Atlantic right whale injury and death, along with entanglement in fishing gear. At high speeds, vessels cannot maneuver to avoid them, and these whales swim too slowly to be able to move out of the way. Studies have found that slowing vessel speeds to 10 knots reduces a North Atlantic right whale's risk of death from vessel strikes by between 80% to 90%.

We can protect this species and prevent extinction, but it will require bold stewardship from our government leaders to take the necessary action. Until speed zone rules are all mandatory and enforced adequately, North Atlantic right whales will continue to die. We need to act now before it is too late. 

Add Your Name.

Tell Secretary Raimondo to take action immediately to expand, strengthen, and enforce vessel speed rules.

Secretary Raimondo: 

 

I am writing to urge you to take immediate action to protect North Atlantic right whales from the threat of vessel strikes in U.S. waters.  

 

The remaining North Atlantic right whales face daily threats in waters from Maine to Florida as they share the busy ocean with thousands of vessels. But with only about 360 North Atlantic right whales remaining, there is no room for error. Federal scientists advise that even one whale death from human causes each year is too many to help this species survive, thrive, and recover. 

 

Recent research from both private and government researchers shows that the current vessel speed regulations are not adequate and that most vessels regularly exceed both required and voluntary speed limits from New England to Florida. Further, an entire class of smaller vessels is exempt from these speed regulations but are still very dangerous to North Atlantic right whales.

 

As the Secretary of Commerce, you bear responsibility for the health and welfare of our oceans including North Atlantic right whales. We urge you to take immediate action to expand, strengthen, and enforce vessel speed rules to protect this critically endangered species.  

These improved regulations must: 

  • - Expand and establish new Seasonal Management Areas;  

  • - Make compliance with Dynamic Management Areas mandatory;

  • - Expand the Vessel Speed Rule to include vessels under 65 feet in length;  

  • - Expand Automatic Identification System (AIS) requirements to include vessels under 65 feet in length and require continuous use of AIS;  

  • - Improve compliance and enforcement of the mandatory speed limit; and 

  • - Narrow the federal agencies' exemption from the Vessel Speed Rule. 

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We can protect North Atlantic right whales and prevent extinction, but it will require bold stewardship from our government leaders to take the necessary action. Wurge you to do what is needed for the whales by beginning the process to revise our current vessel speed regulations immediately. 

 

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.