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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!

Sign Here

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

Nov 26, 2014 Darlene Rand
Nov 25, 2014 Rhonda Banks
Nov 25, 2014 Sheri Morphis
Nov 25, 2014 Ellen Barney
Nov 25, 2014 Amy Sternstein You can't protect an animal without also protecting its habitat, especially the area where the young are raised. Since right whales are already highly endangered, please do everything you can to protect the calving area.
Nov 25, 2014 Suzanne Dunklin
Nov 25, 2014 Carlene McLaughlin
Nov 25, 2014 Sandra Dragan
Nov 25, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Nov 25, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Nov 25, 2014 shawna mccollom
Nov 25, 2014 mara moreira
Nov 25, 2014 Sterna Viljoen
Nov 25, 2014 Betty Gaines
Nov 25, 2014 Kathleen Duason
Nov 25, 2014 Saira Tanna
Nov 25, 2014 Agnès LE GRAND
Nov 25, 2014 Evelyn Alvarez
Nov 25, 2014 Flo Vebbi
Nov 25, 2014 Paulette MacMillan
Nov 25, 2014 Emile Hiesiger
Nov 25, 2014 marietta hayes
Nov 25, 2014 Tali Dahan
Nov 25, 2014 Felicia Tawil
Nov 25, 2014 Nancy Clayton
Nov 25, 2014 Debbie Pinkham
Nov 25, 2014 Marie NyBlom
Nov 25, 2014 Zavier Speight
Nov 25, 2014 Tracy walker
Nov 25, 2014 Soledad O'Farrell
Nov 25, 2014 patricia lindner
Nov 25, 2014 Marilee Urban
Nov 25, 2014 Mandy Redder
Nov 25, 2014 Manuela Sobolewski
Nov 25, 2014 Christina Funk
Nov 25, 2014 crisel ronquillo
Nov 25, 2014 Monique Grignet
Nov 25, 2014 Penny Lunn
Nov 25, 2014 JoAnn Schmidt
Nov 25, 2014 Susan Averitt
Nov 25, 2014 Petra Hegenscheidt
Nov 25, 2014 Ken Bontempo
Nov 25, 2014 roswita reuter
Nov 25, 2014 Verardo Lydia
Nov 25, 2014 Debi Scerca
Nov 25, 2014 Liza Rautenbach
Nov 25, 2014 steven hoover
Nov 25, 2014 Donna Palmer
Nov 25, 2014 Claire Elstone

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