Coast Guard, NOAA Increase Efforts to Protect the North Atlantic Right Whale Population

CAPE COD- Due to the decreasing numbers of Right Whales here in Massachusetts and around the state, Northeast Coast Guard units and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement personnel are partnering to increase focus on illegally placed fishing gear in order to help reduce whale entanglements.

Increased operations will run May 1st through June 30th and will be compromised of frequent air and sea patrols, in seasonal gear closure areas by NOAA law enforcement personnel, and additional Coast Guard patrol boats, cutter crews, and air assets will be dispatched.

In addition, Coast Guard units across the First District will engage in an operation taking aim on at-sea inspections of unattended lobster and gillnet gear.

In 2017, NOAA documented the fatalities of 17 right whales within U.S. and Canadian waters. With an estimated population of 450 right whales remaining in existence, only 25 percent identified as breeding females, the impact of these fatalities is a major blow to conservation efforts and vitality of the species.

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Story By: John Bondarek- Cape News Center

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