Early last month, WHOI Scientist Michael Moore and his team spotted the first North Atlantic right whale calf in Cape Cod Bay, the summer feeding grounds for this species.
Early last month, WHOI Scientist Michael Moore and his team spotted the first North Atlantic right whale calf in Cape Cod Bay, the summer feeding grounds for this species. Seven known calves (so far) have been born this year—an improvement given that no right whale calves were reported in 2018—but Moore said this number is not enough for the population to grow.
North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered species in the world. At current mortality rates, Moore estimates it would take an annual, sustained production of this year’s generation of whales to restore the species to a healthy level.
One of the main factors contributing to decline in right whale reproduction, according to Moore, is entanglement in fishing lines.
“Entanglement is the number one problem we need to solve if we are to avoid extinction of the North Atlantic right whale,” Moore said. “So far our efforts to modify how crab and lobster fisheries rig and deploy their gear have failed to reverse the downward trend of right whale abundance.”
Read more at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Photo: A disentanglement team attempts to free a right whale from fishing gear. EcoHealth Alliance, NOAA Permit #932-1905.