North Atlantic Right Whales

Northern Right Whale | Photo: NOAAFederal agencies are resisting actions designed to protect whales from collisions with ships. As a result, fatal ship strikes on whales are becoming a leading threat to survival.

Due to a combination of increasing coastal ship traffic, smaller crew size, bigger vessels and faster speeds, fatal collisions between ships and whales are on the rise. Deafening underwater noise levels also prevent whales from hearing approaching propellers.

Today, there are fewer than 400 North Atlantic right whales left in existence. A primary cause of right whale injury and mortality is entanglements in fishing gear. Yet, National Marine Fisheries has not implemented decisive measures to reduce these entanglements, due in part to fishing industry opposition.

Whale Mortality

Between 20 and 35% of all whales found dead show cuts and blunt trauma consistent with a ship strike;

Ship strikes are the largest known cause of death for the endangered North Atlantic right whale, and particularly calves who have undeveloped diving capability. The risk of ship collision is now the biggest threat facing the blue whale, the largest mammal on earth; and

The vast majority of ship strikes are not reported. In fact, 42 of 292 incidents were logged only because whale carcasses were pinned to the prow of ships entering harbors.

NEWS FROM PEER – Northern Right Whales

ANOTHER RIGHT WHALE CALF KILLED OFF FLORIDA—TAIL SLICED OFF

Petition to the Coast Guard for Safety Zone to Slow Ships Crossing Whales’ Habitat

COAST GUARD BLOCKS RIGHT WHALE SAFETY STEPS

Commandant Spurns NOAA Pleas for Voluntary Advisory Urging Caution

RULE DELAYS DOOM RIGHT WHALE TO EXTINCTION, TOP ADVISOR SAYS

Marine Mammal Commission Call for Emergency Ship Strike Safeguards Ignored

NAVY MOVES TO PREVENT MORE RIGHT WHALE DEATHS

Temporary Protections Should Be Made Permanent, Group Says

ANOTHER RIGHT WHALE FEARED DEAD THIS WEEK

New Carcass Off Nantucket; One Percent of Population May Have Perished

NAVY KILLS PREGNANT RIGHT WHALE IN MID-ATLANTIC

Second Pregnant Female Victim of Ship Strike This Year

RIGHT WHALE TO BE STUDIED TO EXTINCTION

Latest Protection Plan Is "Too Little, Too Late"

WHALE WATCHING TAKES TOLL ON WHALES

Whale Watching is Second Leading Cause of Ship Collisions Regulations Stalled for Four Years

WHALE PROTECTIONS RARELY ENFORCED

No Prosecutions for Ships Running Down Whales

WHALES DECIMATED BY SHIP STRIKES

NOAA Considering Speed Limits, Buffers and Ship Course Rules in Atlantic