14 February 2011 Doing the Right Thing for the Right Whale Posted by: Caitlin Leutwiler | 1 comment | Share: Scientists from NOAA Fisheries Service attempted to save the entangled right whale on Jan. 15, sedating her before removing the gear (Photo courtesy of EcoHealth Alliance). Public News Service-FL BUTLER BEACH, Fla. (Feb 14, 2011) – The death of a rare North Atlantic right whale on Butler Beach earlier this month has prompted renewed calls to authorities for quicker action on rules that could help avoid such entanglement deaths in the future. Only about 400 right whales are known to exist, and wildlife advocates are urging regulators and the industry to do a better job of keeping the whales away from fishing lines that can kill them. Michael Moore is a senior researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. When right whales get tangled in fishing line, he says the outcomes are not good for the struggling animal. “It’s kind-of like loading a pickup truck full of gear or towing a trailer. It adds to the fuel consumption hugely.” One solution Moore suggests is getting as much line out of the water as possible, to avoid these preventable deaths. In 2008, Defenders of Wildlife won a lawsuit to help advance the fishing industry’s transition to sinking ground-line, and the organization continues to work in the courts and with the government to end right whale entanglement. The group is also pushing the government to move more quickly to address the problem of vertical lines in fixed fishing gear, which also threaten the whales. “We still want a vibrant fishing industry, obviously, but we need to find a way that we can have that fishing industry and have these whales live healthy lives at the same time.” Sierra Weaver, an attorney with Defenders of Wildlife, says one way to protect these animals is to move more quickly toward solutions that the fishing industry could adopt. “We still want a vibrant fishing industry, obviously, but we need to find a way that we can have that fishing industry and have these whales live healthy lives at the same time.” With only 400 right whales in existence, every animal is very important, Weaver adds, and the loss of a young female who could have had calves to help keep the species viable is especially difficult. Click here to listen to this story on the Public News Service. Learn more: See footage of the necropsy and investigation into the right whale’s death in this short video. One Response to “Doing the Right Thing for the Right Whale” Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in It’s Time to Act for Right Whales Years after they agreed to expand critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales, we’re still waiting on NMFS to follow through. So we took to the courts to get this much-needed protection in place. How Should We Honor Earth Day? America has many worldwide firsts in conservation: we were the first nation to establish a national park, the first to create a national wildlife refuge, the first to approve a law protecting endangered species and the first to create a national day dedicated to conservation, Earth Day. But today, we are experiencing another period of crisis in America’s commitment to conservation. When did conservation become a polarizing political issue, when it has been, for the past century, a defining characteristic of American values and the American spirit? Ecological Insults and Injuries Revealed Four Years after Deepwater Horizon Four years after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, we’re beginning to see the full scope of how this ecological disaster is impacting our wildlife on land, air and sea.