With a population of just 433 individuals, the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales are among the rarest of all marine mammals. The future of the species is precarious at best: At least 50 whales have died since 2010, and 18 of those were in the last 10 months. These catastrophic losses, coupled with historically low birthrates, have put the right whales on the path to extinction.
The 1,000 Friends campaign will raise awareness of the Center’s efforts to address what scientists agree are the two major causes of recent right whale deaths; ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.
“We know that one of the most important things we can do to help the Center raise these funds is help them get the word out to the community” said Shawn DeLude, owner of Nauset Disposal. “This is “Go Time” and I encourage our customers, our friends and our community to understand the importance and urgency of this matter. Let’s all step up, dig a little deeper and help grow support for an agency that is speaking for a mammal that can’t.”
The Right Whale Emergency Initiative will effectively double the Center’s current efforts to reduce human-related mortalities by expanding their current right whale aerial surveillance and habitat monitoring activities in Cape Cod Bay to include the important whale habitat on Jeffreys Ledge, off the coast of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
This Center’s research will provide near-real-time information on whale sightings to state and federal regulatory agencies and resource managers. They in turn can alert mariners to the location of right whales so that they can slow down and/or change course, reducing the incidence of vessel collisions. These agencies may also implement temporary fishing closures in highly trafficked areas, to reduce the risk of both ship strike and entanglement. The expanded surveillance activities will also improve the Center’s capacity for finding and freeing entangled whales, as well as monitoring their health post-disentanglement.
“We’re thrilled and grateful to have this opportunity to work with local businesses and all Cape Codders” said Rich Delaney, President and CEO of the Center for Coastal Studies. “Whales play a critically important role in keeping our ocean ecosystems healthy; but these majestic and magical animals also have a very special place in our history, our culture and our sense of what Cape Cod is all about. I hope everyone will unite a join Nauset Disposal and other business leaders in rallying support to help them survive this devastating period.”
To make a gift to the Center’s Right Whale Emergency Initiative and become one of the 1,000 Friends of Right Whales, visit coastalstudies.org/1000friends or click the Donate Now button below.