17 November 2010 Right Whale Protection Has Teeth Posted by: Caitlin Leutwiler | 2 comments | Share: A right whale killed by a ship strike is lifted onto the beach. After years of court battles and advocacy efforts by Defenders and its partners, the federal government proved it means business when it comes to protecting right whales. The government announced yesterday its first notices of violation and proposed fines against ships breaking the Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule. Ship strikes are the leading cause of death for this population of only about 400 animals. This important rule was put in place in 2008 in order to avoid potentially deadly collisions, and requires ocean-going vessels of 65 feet or greater to slow to 10 knots or less in areas where highly endangered North Atlantic right whales are known to congregate. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) said that the proposed penalties range from $16,500 to $49,500 depending on the frequency of violations – dollar amounts that hopefully will cause more oceangoing vessels to realize that compliance with the law is good for both the whales and their own pocketbooks. The timing couldn’t be better for this highly endangered animal. November 15 marked the start of the species’ winter calving season, with right whale moms arriving in the waters off Georgia and Florida to give birth to the next generation of right whales! Because right whale moms and calves tend to spend more time at the surface, they are especially vulnerable to vessel collisions in the busy waters of the Southeast. Sierra Weaver In a population so small, every animal counts, and enforcement of this crucial law helps give North Atlantic right whales a fighting chance for survival. Learn more about right whales and what Defenders is doing to protect them and the places they call home. Blog post by Sierra Weaver, attorney for Defenders of Wildlife who works to protect endangered right whales. 2 Responses to “Right Whale Protection Has Teeth” Tamara Coper November 19th, 2010 Congrattulation… Thank you. Sincerely, Tamara Coper-TamaraDesign, Sweden Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up Helicopter gunning kills 23 wolves in Idaho; Urge Secretary Jewell to abandon gray wolf delisting proposal — Call your representative by March 14; Washington wildlife agency urged to end support for abolishing federal wolf protections; The latest on Governor Otter’s wolf control board. Two Too Many Development Projects in the Ivanpah Valley While these projects most definitely directly impact a species that has been identified as threatened and is dependent on the habitat where they would be built, Silver State South and Stateline’s approval is most troubling for a bigger reason. You see, this isn’t just an issue for the Ivanpah Valley. Developers and agencies need to be conscious of how and where they plan energy projects all across the country. They need to look at renewable energy planning with a landscape-wide lens, understanding that building in the right places and making an effort to minimize environmental impacts from the start are essential. California’s Rim Fire: Opportunities Rise from the Ashes After California’s devastating Rim Fire, will officials take the opportunity to give nature a chance to fully recover?