PORTLAND, Maine — The government of the United States has declined a request made by a coalition of environmental organisations to immediately implement suggested restrictions on ship speeds in an effort to conserve a species of whale that is on the verge of extinction.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is currently mulling over the possibility of implementing new regulations that would prevent large vessels from coming into contact with North Atlantic right whales. There are less than 340 of these whales left, and they are extremely susceptible to being killed by ships and becoming entangled in fishing gear.
The “slow zones” that are located off the coast of the East Coast would be expanded as a result of the proposed restrictions, and more vessels would be required to comply with those laws. When the whales migrate from their calving grounds off the coast of the southern states to their feeding grounds off the coast of New England and Canada, the environmental groups had requested that NOAA immediately implement parts of the proposed rule that would assist the whales during this winter and spring.
According to Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director of Whale and Dolphin Conservation, protecting whales while they are travelling is extremely crucial because mother whales and their young are vulnerable during this time of the whale’s life.
“We are aware that the potential for harm exists,” Asmutis-Silvia stated. “You can’t recover the population unless you have kids, and we want to make sure the kids survive,” said the leader of the group. “We want to make sure the kids survive.”
The number of right whales has been steadily decreasing over the past few years, which has caused concern among marine biologists, advocates for animal rights, and government regulators.
The warming of the water, according to the findings of some researchers, has prompted whales to look for food beyond the boundaries of the protected areas that are already in place.
Both conservationists and fishermen in the commercial industry have divergent opinions regarding the best strategy to save whale populations.
However, the conservationists’ efforts to impose further restrictions on lobster fishing have been put on hold for the time being. These regulations are intended to prevent whales from becoming entangled in fishing gear.