Faces of North Atlantic Right Whale Conservation

The past year has been devastating for the North Atlantic right whale, whose population suffered a loss of at least 18 individuals—4 percent of the population—an alarming number for this already critically endangered species. NOAA scientists, resource managers, and partners are coordinating closely to solve this urgent conservation challenge.

Now is the time to get informed. Check out our web story series below to learn what NOAA’s team—working in collaboration with experts from Canada to Florida—is doing to help find a road to recovery for the North Atlantic right whale.
Feature Story
North Atlantic right whale mother and calf.

Meet the Expert: Sofie Van Parijs


Passive acoustic monitoring is one of the powerful tools NOAA experts use for understanding and monitoring shifts in North Atlantic right whales’ movements. Using technologies like autonomous listening gliders, floating high-tech buoys, or bottom-mounted recorders deployed along the coast, researchers can record whale calls and obtain new insights into range expansion or decline and changing distribution patterns. Learn more about North Atlantic right whale acoustic monitoring in this Q&A with NOAA zoologist Sofie Van Parijs, who started NOAA’s Northeast passive acoustic research group in 2006.

Read the Q&A here


Meet the Expert: Mike Asaro


Entanglement in fishing lines attached to gillnets and traps on the ocean floor is one of the greatest threats to the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. Mike Asaro, Ph.D., is the Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Branch Chief of the NOAA Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. Learn more about his work with North Atlantic right whales and how NOAA, in coordination with the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team, is coming up with innovative technologies and policies to reduce gear entanglements.

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Meet the Expert: David Morin

Morin with Gear from Ruffian cropped.jpg

Fishing gear entanglement is one of the leading known causes of North Atlantic right whale deaths in the United States and Canada. Ropes or lines can cut into a whale’s body, cause serious injuries, and result in infections and mortality. Even if a gear entanglement does not ultimately result in death, it can cause severe stress to the whales, making it difficult for the animals to swim and feed, and reducing the likelihood that they will survive to reproduce. 


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Meet the Expert: Mendy Garron

Learn more about stranding emergency response and analysis for the North Atlantic right whale in this Q&A with NOAA Marine Biologist Mendy Garron, who coordinates stranding response efforts along the East Coast.

Read the Q&A here