Parler Share
Lifestyle & Human Interest

Whale Species Among the Rarest Marine Mammals in the World Is Losing Its Population

Parler Share

A type of whale that is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world lost nearly 10 percent of its population last year, a group of scientists and ocean life advocates said on Monday.

The North Atlantic right whale numbered only 366 in 2019, and its population fell to 336 in 2020, the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium said.

The estimate is the lowest number in nearly two decades.

Right whales were once abundant in the waters off New England but were decimated during the commercial whaling era due to their high concentrations of oil.

They have been listed as endangered by the U.S. government for more than half a century.

Trending:
Doocy Catches Press Sec Off Guard with 'Four-Letter Word' Question About Classified Docs - All She Can Do Is Laugh

The whales have suffered high mortality and poor reproduction in some recent years.

There were more than 480 of the animals as recently as 2011.

They are vulnerable to fatal entanglement in fishing gear and collisions with large ships, and even when they survive, they often emerge less fit and less able to feed and mate, said Scott Kraus, chair of the consortium.

“No one engaged in right whale work believes that the species cannot recover from this. They absolutely can, if we stop killing them and allow them to allocate energy to finding food, mates and habitats that aren’t marred with deadly obstacles,” Kraus said.

The whales feed and mate off New England and Canada.

They then travel hundreds of miles in the fall to calving grounds off Georgia and Florida before returning north in the spring.

The whale consortium was founded in the mid-1980s by a group of science institutions including the New England Aquarium and today includes dozens of members from academia, industry, government and elsewhere.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the arm of the federal government that monitors and regulates ocean issues, cautioned that the group’s estimate is preliminary and has not yet been peer-reviewed.

However, the agency shares the consortium’s concern about the loss of right whales, said Allison Ferreira, a spokesperson for the agency.

Related:
Watch: One Bite from This Deadly Lizard, And You May Only Have Hours to Live - Do Not Pet This

“North Atlantic right whales are one of the most imperiled species on the planet, and the latest estimate shows that the substantial downward trajectory of right whale abundance documented over the last decade continues,” Ferreira said.

The whales, which can weigh 135,000 pounds, have been a focus of conservationists for generations.

Recently, efforts to save the whales have resulted in new restrictions on U.S. lobster fishing, and pushback from the fishing industry about those new rules.

The rules are designed to reduce the number of rope lines that link buoys to lobster and crab traps, and went into effect this year.

However, the rules also resulted in a flurry of lawsuits, and a federal judge ruled this month that fishermen can continue to fish until further notice in an area off the coast of Maine that had been slated for restriction from their gear.

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , , ,
Parler Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation