In this club, we are studying the issue of the endangered North Atlantic Right whale. There are less than 500 Northern Right whales left in the Atlantic, making them the rarest of large whale species. It is very important that we do everything possible to help them survive and eventually regain their numbers.
Right whales are an important part of the history of the United States. They were hunted and killed extensively until the 1931 Convention for the Regulation of Whaling because they were the easiest whale to collect; they floated when dead. Since then, despite the ban in 1931, there still remain less than 500 of this species. In part this is because of boat traffic around the coasts of the Atlantic. There are a couple places off the coast of Massachusetts, especially in Cape Cod Bay, where right whales have frequently been spotted and we should protect these areas from the following dangers to the whales.
Right whales have been threatened by entanglement in fishing gear, ship strikes, and loss of communication because of noise traffic. They are seasonal guests to Massachusetts waters, so regulation of these would only be necessary in Cape Cod Bay from around January to May. During these months, ships and fishermen should be especially cautious and try to avoid areas where the whales are. More funding for NOAA would help them to continue their efforts to save the endangered Right whales.
The New England Aquarium is another institution that does research and acts in the interest of the Right whales. To date, the Aquarium has maintained the ship lanes in the Atlantic where they are least likely to come into contact with whales, catalogued all of the sighted Right whales, and it is an active member of the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, fighting to protect the whales. The Aquarium does research on the migration routes of Right whales in order to better the placement of the ship lanes and protect more whales. The New England Aquarium’s efforts should be funded better so that it is able to continue research and enforce the necessary restrictions on boat traffic.
Right whales are majestic creatures, and we should be advocating for their lives. If we succeed in protecting them, their numbers will potentially rise to a steady state, but we must act now if we are to make a difference. NOAA and the New England Aquarium are two organizations that strive to help the whales, but they need our funding and support. Please help us to raise this money or support them.
Thank you for your time,
Marine Conservation Club
(Writer: Clio Macrakis)