Senators Push for Federal Assessment of Right Whale Deaths

The tail of one of the right whales briefly sighted off Martha’s Vineyard Feb. 21, 2017. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Pete Duley, NEFSC. Images collected under MMPA research permit #17355

BOSTON (AP) — Eleven Democratic senators are asking the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct an urgent assessment of the impacts to the endangered North Atlantic right whale from fisheries in Canada.

The senators led by Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey said fishing communities across New England have worked to reduce impacts on marine mammals. Markey said last year most observed right whale deaths were in Canadian waters.

There are only about 450 North Atlantic right whales left, and they experienced high mortality last year.

The letter was also signed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rhode Island Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, New Jersey Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, and Delaware Sen. Tom Carper.

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