NOAA Is Choosing Extinction
As the North Atlantic right whale careens toward extinction, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) leaders refuse to act on the findings of the agency’s own scientists to protect these whales.
Roughly 400 North Atlantic right whales remain. Last week, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the North Atlantic right whale as critically endangered, meaning it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
PEER has documented how NOAA has repeatedly ignored its fishery scientists’ recommendations on ways to reduce ship strikes and entanglement. Where the cause of death is known, 100% of right whale mortality is from ship strikes or entanglements in fishing gear.
Documents obtained by PEER reveal NOAA Fisheries “only want[ing] to share good news” about right whales, in order to downplay the effects of fisheries on the species. They also show that HQ is “freaked out” about the notion of the public discovering how entanglements harm right whales.
This inaction and overriding concern about “bad publicity” come at a time when we are living through a mass extinction that is unfolding at rates hundreds or thousands of times faster than at any time in the past tens of millions of years.
NOAA cannot run away from the fact that the North Atlantic right whale is going extinct, and that its extinction is entirely preventable. NOAA has powerful tools to protect the whale, but it is choosing not to use them. In this case, NOAA is choosing extinction.
That is why PEER is doing everything it can to push NOAA to act to save the North Atlantic right whale. Thank you for supporting our effort. We couldn’t be doing it without you.
P.S. – Did you see this recent New York Times article, Northern Right Whales Are on the Brink, and Trump Could be Their Last Hope, which features PEER’s work?
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