The North Atlantic Right Whale: One Of The Most Endangered Whales In The World.

North Atlantic Right Whale
North Atlantic Right Whale | Source

According to the Florida Fish and Wild Life Conservation (FWC), the North Atlantic right whale, also known as Eubalaena glacialis , is “one of the most endangered large whales in the world,” and up until the mid 1930’s, they have been hunted to near extinction for their large amounts of oil and baleen. They received their name by whalers who considered them the “right” whale to hunt. Other species of right whale are the North Pacific right whale (Eubalaena japonica ) and the Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis ).

Although hunting was banned, the North Atlantic right whale still faces extinction due to human activities. From winter to spring, the North Atlantic right whale migrates to coastal waters located off the coasts of Georgia and Florida where they give birth to their calves. Because of their preference to coastal waters, they are now faced with other problems: this preference has placed them in the “commercial fisheries areas,” which is causing fishing gear entanglements and collision with large vessels. According to the Fish and Wildlife Center (FWC), this has caused about a 30% of their mortality rate.

This is a serious problem for the “right whale" because according to FWC, even one death per year has a significant effect on the population, which is estimated to number just over 300 individuals and they still remain critically endangered.

North Pacific Right Whale
North Pacific Right Whale | Source

The Fish and Wildlife Center (FWC) does not mention if the problem is getting worse, nor do they say it's improving either. The FWC site claims that the number has increased by 50 since 2000, however, 25% of newborns die within the first year and more right whales have been found dead. The FWC does mention, however, that between 1987 and 1999, different organizations have taken many measures to keep the whales protected:

  • “The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) designated the coastal waters of Florida and Georgia as the right whale critical habitat in the Southeast U.S.” giving whales more protection while in calving grounds. For the Northeast, the designated areas are the Great South Channel, Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay, Bay of Fundy, and the Scotian Shelf.
  • “Researchers, including the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GDNR), and the New England Aquarium (NEA), fly Early Warning System (EWS) aerial surveys to locate animals during the calving season. The EWS surveys are organized to relay location information to mariners in an attempt to prevent vessel-whale collisions.”
  • To prevent ship collision with Right Whales, “NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard implemented the Mandatory Ship Reporting Systems (MSR),” requiring commercial ships greater than 300 tons to report to the MSR when entering right whale habitat during their calving season. The MSR then relates information of recent whale locations and advisories.
  • The FWC states that federal efforts resulted in the Southeast Implementation Team (SEIT), “a multi-agency and citizen advisory group” for the recovery of the Right Whale, in which the FWC is a member of. This “team develops management and research recommendations and assists in implementing the recovery plan.


Southern Right Whale
Southern Right Whale | Source

How can we help?

The premature extinction of this species may be resolved through the timely combined efforts of all governments, public awareness, and adequate funding for new research and implementation of endangered species protection laws. Although the FWC’s claims are impressive, the fact remains that the species has not been taken off the endangered species list in decades. All this tracking and observations have not prevented entanglements, injuries, and deaths consequently leading to conclude that all research, data, and efforts need revision and alternate plans for the preservation of the species are needed.

Through the above mentioned resolution, and citizen involvement in the protection of the North Atlantic right whale, the species has a chance of survival. Citizens can involve themselves and contribute by volunteering in right whale sighting. Volunteers can also bring public awareness by educating others.


If a Right Whale is Sighted

FWC and the NOAA advices that if a right whale is sighted or entangled in fishing gear, do not approach the whale closer than 500 yards, instead report the sighting by calling the following numbers:


In the Northeast Region:

(Northeast Region: ME - VA and offshore north of 36°35'N)

Entangled whales: 800-900-3622

Dead, ship-struck, or injured whales: 978-281-9351

General right whale sightings: 978-585-8473


In the Southeast Region (includes the Gulf of Mexico):

(Southeast Region: NC - TX and offshore south of 36°35'N)

Entangled, dead, ship-struck, or injured whales: 877-433-8299.

All other right whale sightings: 904-237-4220


Sightings in any location notify the U.S Coast Guard on VHF Ch. 16 and provide coordinates, location, and direction of travel.


©Faithful Daughter

All rights reserved. Any redistribution, reproduction, republishing, rebroadcasting or rewriting of part or all of the contents in any form or manner is prohibited without the express written consent of the author and owner, Faithful Daughter.
All rights reserved. Any redistribution, reproduction, republishing, rebroadcasting or rewriting of part or all of the contents in any form or manner is prohibited without the express written consent of the author and owner, Faithful Daughter. | Source

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Comments 16 comments

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for a useful and important hub and video that publicize the plight of the right whale. The phone numbers are a great addition to the hub.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

AliciaC,

You are welcome, and thank you for stopping by and commenting.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Thank you Faithful Daughter for this informative article. And the beautiful motivation behind it. The old Whalers named them 'Right Whales' because they were the right Whales to hunt being peaceful and trusting. Of course as you pointed out they've got more against them now from the side effects of other creatures being fished. There are many other reasons their in danger from too. Like toxic dumping for example. Bless you Faithful.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Alastar,

Yes, they are very peaceful. I call them gentle giants of the sea. They are not violent at all even around their calf. They just give others gentle reminders to stay away from their calf by spraying water on them. Boats/Ships and entanglement with fishing gear are their main problem that their numbers are dwindling.

Thanks for visiting and commenting.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Another endangered species because of human disrespect. Thanks for bringing their plight to our attention.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Hyphenbird,

It is very sad, and the list is long. You would think that with all the technology, laws, and advances man has made, this would not be happening to this gentle species or any for that matter, but it is. Mankind has not advanced much with all it's technology, if anything it has made things worse. It all boils down to carelessness and lack of respect for these creatures. Thanks for stopping by.


fashion 5 years ago

This is very useful article.Thanks for great work doing here.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

fashion,

You are welcome. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 5 years ago from United States

Sometimes I wonder if one day the "right" humans will feel the impact of our total disregard for animals, in this case the right whale.

Thanks for sharing. This hub, hopefully will have an impact on many.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 5 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Dexter,

I pray that it will not be too late when humans decide to REALLY do something about this. If they do not find a way for ships to successfully avoid them and discontinue the use of their current netting, the small numbers of whales left will be totally gone. Thanks for stopping by.


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

It is a terrible shame the way we treat these beautiful creatures.

Great hub and thank you for bringing this debacle back into out thoughts.

The whaling nations need to get with the programme.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

Hello molometer,

I agree it is a terrible shame what these poor creatures have endured through the centuries and even now. There are many more creatures on this planet on the brink of extinction due to man's carelessness and lack of respect for them. Things have not changed in over a 100 years and it doesn't look like they are going to change any time soon if we are going to stand by and do nothing about it.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


vibesites profile image

vibesites 4 years ago from United States

I'm fascinated by whales even though I see them only on TV. I wish that they could be saved so that I would be able to see them before my own eyes -- and for future generations' to come. Voted up and shared. :)


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 4 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

vibesites,

Thanks for your comment. I feel as you about the whales. Thanks for sharing the plight of these gentle giants with others.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 3 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

laylafaith,

Yes, these whales are unique and very docile creatures, which makes their dilemma even sadder. I don't believe the laws in place to protect them are effective enough, just like many laws against animal cruelty. It is up to us to bring awareness and help them in anyway we can. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Faithful Daughter profile image

Faithful Daughter 3 years ago from Sunny Florida Author

laylafaith,

You are welcome! :)

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