Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 220

Oceana Launches Campaign in U.S. and Canada to Save North Atlantic Right Whales from Extinction

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 16 settembre 2019

Oceana, the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation, today launched a campaign in the U.S. and Canada to help save the North Atlantic right whale from extinction. In a new report, Oceana details the dire reality facing North Atlantic right whales, highlighting their two greatest threats — entanglements in fishing gear and collisions with ships. Since 2017, 28 North Atlantic right whales have been confirmed dead in U.S. and Canadian waters and only around 400 animals remain. Scientists estimate that even a single human-caused right whale death a year threatens the species’ chances of recovery.
North Atlantic right whales were named for being the “right” whale to hunt because they were often found near shore, swim slowly and tend to float when killed. They were aggressively hunted, and their population dropped from peak estimates of up to 21,000 to perhaps fewer than 100 by the 1920s. After whaling of North Atlantic right whales was banned in 1935, their population increased to as many as 483 individuals in 2010. Unfortunately, that progress has reversed.Entanglement in fishing gear used to catch lobster, snow crab and bottom-dwelling fish like halibut, flounder and cod is one of two leading causes of right whale injury and death. Fishing gear from the U.S. and Canada entangles an estimated 100 right whales each year, and about 83% of all right whales have been entangled at least once. Ropes have been seen wrapped around right whales’ mouths, fins, tails and bodies, which slows them down, making it difficult to swim, reproduce and feed, and can cause drowning. The lines cut into the whales’ flesh, leading to life-threatening infections, and are so strong that they have severed fins and tails, and cut into bone.Collisions with ships are the other leading cause of right whale deaths. Right whales are slow, swimming around six miles (9.7 km) per hour, usually near the water’s surface. They are also dark-skinned and lack a dorsal fin, making them very difficult to spot. Studies have found that the speed of a vessel is a major factor in ship-related collisions with right whales. At normal operating speeds, ships cannot maneuver to avoid them, and right whales swim too slowly to be able to move out of the way. This puts them at great risk of being struck, which can cause deadly injuries from blunt-force trauma or cuts from propellers. Emerging threats like seismic airgun blasting, a process used to search for oil and gas deep below the seafloor that creates one of the loudest human-made sounds in the ocean, put the species at even greater risk.


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