What is the problem?

  • Around 500 North Atlantic right whales remain.
  • Right Whale coastal habitat along the eastern U.S. and Canada is heavily industrialized and under increasing negative pressures from human activities.
  • Mortality from ship-strikes and fishing-gear entanglements is driving the species toward extinction.
  • On average only 11 calves are born per year, this is only 1/3 of the expected birth rate and less than the present annual death rate.

What actions must be taken to effect the solutions?

  1. Eliminate human-caused mortality to right whales in critical habitats and migration corridors
    • Reduce and eliminate mortality and injury from ship-strikes via:
      • Ship rerouting around critical areas
      • Ship speed reduction to "whale safe" speeds
      • Advanced technology to help ships avoid right whales
    • Reduce and eliminate mortality and injury from fishing-gear entanglements via:
      • Universal fishing-gear modifications
      • Seasonal time and area fishing-gear closures
      • Modify fishing practices
  2. Protect right whale habitats
    • Assess patterns of known critical habitat use by right whales and humans and eliminate conflic
    • Locate the other critical habitats not yet identified but known to exist
    • Protect critical habitats using a range of tools (including some of the means identified above)
    • Advance effective protection of known habitats and protect other habitats as they become known.
  3. Assess factors that reduce reproductive success of right whales
    • Identify and assess actual and potential threats in right whale habitats that reduce reproductive success
    • Reduce and eliminate threats as they become identified

Essential resources and tools

  • Information based on credible science that can address uncertainties
  • International and national leadership, coordination and cooperation
  • Political will at all jurisdictional levels
  • Multi-year continuity in funding for research, monitoring and stewardship to capitalize on insights and advance policy and conservation initiatives
  • Public and private partnerships, stakeholder and institutional commitment
  • Education