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FSU scientist warns North Atlantic right whale facing extinction

erage of 23 annually over the last five years, are inadequate to overcome this level of mortality," the paper states. "Without changes in the management of shipping and fisheries, right whales face extinction within the next 100 years."

The current plight of the North Atlantic right whale stands in stark contrast to that of the Southern Hemisphere right whale, whose population is estimated to be more than 10,000 and is increasing at approximately 7.2 percent per year.

While there have been efforts to minimize the risk of ship strikes -- mandatory ship location reporting, extensive aerial survey efforts and mariner education -- the scientists say that the initiatives don't lead to a reduction in ship strike mortalities without required changes in the operation of ships within right whale habitats and migratory corridors.

And although the risk of fishing gear entanglements have been addressed through gear modifications and selective area closures, paper co-authors declare those closures inadequate because they don't fully address the seasonal movement of right whales.

The scientists recommend the immediate implementation of interim emergency rules to address the current crisis and emphasize the need for renewed support now from the U.S. Congress and research community as well as the fishing industry.


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Source:Florida State University



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