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Goal: 50,000 Progress: 32,478
Sponsored by: Defenders of Wildlife

Right whales spend much of their time feeding on or near the sea's surface, which make them especially vulnerable to ship strikes and entanglement in commercial fishing gear. One recent study found that 75 percent or more of surviving right whales bear scars from past encounters with commercial fishing lines.

Even worse, new threats to whales and their habitat are emerging, like the use of powerful sonic blasters for offshore energy exploration and military research.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has publicly acknowledged that new habitat protections are urgently needed. The agency agreed in 2010 to act, but so far has done nothing.

Tell NMFS to expand critically-needed ocean habitat for the North Atlantic Right Whale, before it’s too late!

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Tell Donna Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, to Protect Critical Habitat for North Atlantic Right Whales!

Dear Director Wieting,

I'm writing to you today to request that you take urgent action and expand ocean habitat for northern right whales before it's too late.

BOEM is currently considering whether to lease an area offshore of Georgia for wind energy exploration in the right whales' only known calving area, which is not designated as critical habitat. Installation of these facilities and others, will involve intense and harmful noise from pile driving. Once installed, the effect on right whale mothers and calves in a maze of turbines in calving and nursing habitat or along their migratory route is unknown. Any habitat displacement could be disastrous to the species.

Although the right whale has been listed as endangered since 1970, the species is making little progress toward recovery. Your agency has identified entanglement in commercial fishing gear and ship strikes as the two primary factors impeding the North Atlantic right whale's recovery, prioritizing the identification and protection of right whale habitat as essential to recovery.

Your agency has repeatedly stated that the species' survival is dependent on protecting every individual, concluding that the "loss of even a single individual may contribute to the extinction of the species," and that "if current trends continue, the population could go extinct in less than 200 years." As recently as 2008, NMFS stated that "the population can sustain no deaths or serious injuries due to human causes if its recovery is to be assured."

Over the past decade, your own scientists have repeatedly stated that the currently-designated right whale critical habitat is not protective enough and leaves the species vulnerable to injury and death in its most essential habitat areas. The designation of "critical habitat" is one of the fundamental mechanisms by which the ESA aims to conserve and recover imperiled species.

With fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales left, expanding critical habitat to protect the species' key feeding and breeding areas off the Northeast coast, calving grounds off the Southeast coast, and its mid-Atlantic migration route will help prevent this rare and charismatic whale's extinction and ensure its eventual recovery.

Please expand critically-needed ocean habitat for the northern right whale, before it's too late.

Thank you for your consideration.

Petition Signatures

Dec 18, 2014 heather cornwell
Dec 18, 2014 khan maryam
Dec 18, 2014 Laura Tysinger
Dec 18, 2014 Sally Smith
Dec 18, 2014 mary clausing
Dec 18, 2014 Gina Sinnott
Dec 18, 2014 Paschalia Keskinidou
Dec 18, 2014 Ger van den Berg
Dec 18, 2014 Cheyenne Hartløw
Dec 17, 2014 Melissa Haugen
Dec 17, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 17, 2014 Sonia Duffy
Dec 17, 2014 Alexander Yeung I love whales. I proud to be a whale lover. Save and protect them whale.
Dec 17, 2014 randi tarillion
Dec 17, 2014 Andrea Fontenot
Dec 17, 2014 DeeAnna Fletcher
Dec 17, 2014 Hannah Thompson
Dec 17, 2014 Tamara Rudic
Dec 17, 2014 Patience Knepper
Dec 17, 2014 Arlene Patoray
Dec 17, 2014 Pamela York
Dec 17, 2014 eliizabeth madanelo
Dec 17, 2014 Lori Shimabukuro
Dec 17, 2014 chai brazil
Dec 17, 2014 Sanja Božić
Dec 17, 2014 Lloyd Edwards Whales are an important part of our eco-system & they should be protected.
Dec 17, 2014 Dana Sharkey
Dec 17, 2014 Mary Fox
Dec 17, 2014 lori gibson
Dec 17, 2014 Barb Weatherly
Dec 17, 2014 JoAnn Ailes
Dec 17, 2014 kimberley escalera
Dec 17, 2014 Lola Rodriguez
Dec 17, 2014 anne armstrong
Dec 17, 2014 Dawn Loomis
Dec 17, 2014 Cathryn Lessard
Dec 17, 2014 Maricela Elizondo
Dec 17, 2014 wendy brown
Dec 16, 2014 marty perez
Dec 16, 2014 Rochelle Wood
Dec 16, 2014 raj davies
Dec 16, 2014 Michele Burhofer
Dec 16, 2014 M Patterson
Dec 16, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 16, 2014 Emily Bergman
Dec 16, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 16, 2014 Carla Forth
Dec 16, 2014 clara Jimenez
Dec 16, 2014 Kacey Ingram
Dec 16, 2014 tracey apgar

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