ACT RIGHT NOW – Save a Species: North Atlantic Right Whale

Friday, December 7, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

PCCS Contact:

Karen Costa, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)
karen.costa@whales.org
Cell phone: (617) 501-7892 (current & event day)

Who: Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, The Humane Society of the United States, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies
What: Campaign launch, expert panel discussion, and video premier – “Countdown to Extinction: One Year to Act to Save Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales”. The New Bedford Whaling Museum and Whale and Dolphin Conservation are hosting an open forum to discuss the plight of the North Atlantic right whale. Join leading scientists and advocates in discussing the threats facing North Atlantic right whales. In addition to an expert panel discussion, curriculum guides for teachers will be available.

When: Sunday December 9, 2012 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Where: New Bedford Whaling Museum, 18 Johnny Cake Hill, New Bedford, MA 02740

Why: Leading right whale scientists and advocates come together to mark the one year countdown to the expiration of the Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule and to ask the federal government to keep the rule in place, giving critically endangered North Atlantic right whales a chance to survive. The biggest threat to these animals was – and still is – man. Right whale populations were depleted to near extinction by whaling. With approximately 500 individuals remaining, the North Atlantic right whale is on the brink of extinction with vessel strikes, fishing gear entanglements and a lack of adequate habitat protection continuing to threaten their existence. Currently, seventy-two percent of their known mortality is attributed to human causes. Public support to keep the ten knot speed rule in place is needed.

Experts participating and available for interviews include:

Regina Asmutis-Silvia, Vessel Strike Program Lead & Executive Director, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)

Dr. Charles “Stormy” Mayo, Director of Right Whale Program, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS)

Dr. Michael Moore, Senior Research Specialist Biology, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

Robert Rocha, Science Director, New Bedford Whaling Museum (NBWM)

Sharon Young, Marine Issues Field Director, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

In 2008 the Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule was enacted requiring vessels greater than 20m (65 feet) in length to slow to 10 knots in specific areas seasonally. In an unprecedented measure, the National Marine Fisheries Service released the rule with a sunset date and the rule is set to expire on December 9th, 2013. This coming year WDC and partners will lead the way with the Act Right Now campaign to gain public support for stronger and more permanent regulations to ensure that right whales have the best chance to survive the threats they face.