Editor's Note December 4, 2023: Endangered North Atlantic right whales are approaching extinction. There are approximately 360 individuals remaining, including fewer than 70 reproductively active females. Human impacts continue to threaten the survival of this species.
The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whale species; the latest preliminary estimate suggests there are fewer than 350 remaining. The primary threats to right whales are human related, and they include entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes.
A new proposed rule aims to reduce vessel strikes and add protections to endangered North Atlantic right whales. The proposed changes would expand mandatory speed restrictions to include vessels 35 to 65 feet long and broaden season speed restriction zones.
On this episode of Dive In with NOAA Fisheries, we talk with Dr. Caroline Good, a large whale ecologist and the lead on right whale vessel strike related issues. We'll also hear more about the proposed regulation, who it will impact, and how it can help.
We encourage public comment on the proposed rule; comments are accepted until September 30, 2022.