Officials Urging Support for Vessel Speed Restrictions

North Atlantic right whales in the Cape Cod Canal.

BARNSTABLE – The International Fund for Animal Welfare is seeking support for vessel speed restrictions to help protect North Atlantic Right Whales.

As data continues to grow showing the importance of specific regions for the whales to inhabit, Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President of Animal Rescue at IFAW, said that things will need to change to enforce more strictly supervised speed restrictions.

“The Right Whales are the most endangered large whales in the world, and they’re in U.S. waters throughout the year, but they migrate up and down the east coast, so there are ways we can protect them as they’re moving,” Moore said.

Moore said changes should be made to the rules set in place, as the current laws only apply to vessels that are 65 feet or longer, and some seasonal zones are considered voluntary instead of mandatory.

Experts are now pushing for support from Congress to make changes before it is too late to save the population, which Moore says data models show human impacts must be minimal for the whales to recover.

“Less than one whale a year, due to human impacts, is what we can afford to lose if we want these animals, this population to be able to recover. That is striking to me so we have to do something, and we can’t keep putting it off,” said Moore.

Data models that experts are using suggest that the North Atlantic right whale population will be functionally extinct by 2035 if nothing is changed.

About Zachary Clapp

Zack is a graduate from Cape Cod Community College who is an avid sports fan and loves everything radio.  Zack joined the NewsCenter in 2023.
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