Endangered North Atlantic right whales are approaching extinction. The latest preliminary estimate indicates there are fewer than 350 individuals remaining and less than 100 breeding females. Primary threats to the species are entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes. Climate change is also affecting every aspect of their survival—changing their ocean habitat, their migratory patterns, the location and availability of their prey, and even their risk of becoming entangled in fishing gear or struck by vessels.
NOAA Fisheries announced two important steps in a series of actions the agency is taking to protect and conserve North Atlantic right whales:
- Proposed changes to federal vessel speed regulations to further reduce the likelihood of right whale deaths and serious injuries that result from collisions with vessels
- A new draft Ropeless Roadmap: A Strategy to Develop On-Demand Fishing
Both of these efforts are part of our North Atlantic Right Whale Road to Recovery. This strategy encapsulates all of our ongoing work across the agency and in collaboration with our partners and stakeholders to conserve and rebuild the North Atlantic right whale population.