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A Good Fight for a Good Whale: Ban Seismic Testing in the Atlantic

Francesca Koe

Posted October 11, 2012 in Saving Wildlife and WIld Places

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Each year, as the summer draws to a close, the North Atlantic right whales begin their incredible journey southward. For millions of years, these graceful giants have called the North Atlantic their home, migrating from their summer feeding grounds off the coast of New England to give birth in the warmer waters of Georgia and Florida each winter. 

The scientific name for a right whale is, Eubalaena glacialis, which means, "good whale of the ice" but it is their common name tells the tale of their population decline. Whalers labeled these docile creatures the “right whale” because they were easier to harpoon and had more blubber than other species - a fact which nearly drove these “good whales of the ice” to extinction in the 18th century.  Whaling was banned internationally in the 1940’s and the battered population of right whales began to make a slow recovery.

Whale_seismic testing.jpg

                                     North Atlantic right whale and dolphins.

Today, fewer than 400 right whales remain, winning them the sad honor being one of the world’s most endangered animals. Given that only a few of these incredible creatures still exist we must do everything that we can to protect them. And yet, the US Department of the Interior has recently announced plans to open up right whale habitat in the Atlantic Ocean to industrial airgun blasting in search of offshore oil and gas.

For marine life, the intense noise produced by the industry’s airguns is akin to dynamite going off in your neighborhood every 10 seconds for weeks and months on end. According to the Interior Department’s own draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, the proposal to begin airgun blasting in the Atlantic would injure up to 138,500 marine mammals and disrupt marine mammal feeding, calving, breeding, and other vital activities more than 13.5 million times.  This is an unacceptable loss.

You can do your part to save the right whale by sending a letter urging the Department of the Interior to abandon the proposal to allow seismic testing in the Atlantic.  If you use Facebook you can also help by signing this photo petition created by NRDC and Oceana who are working with Victoria Principal to get the word out.

Help ensure that right whales get the right kind of protections and have a chance at recovery by sharing this message and saying “no” to seismic testing in right whale habitat.

Photo Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, NOAA Research Permit # 594-1759

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Comments

Lilly KnuthOct 11 2012 07:01 PM

We need to allow these whales the passage they need and not hinder the, with air gun blasts.

betty pedersonOct 11 2012 07:33 PM

not right to do testing then

Sirilin KesklaOct 13 2012 01:07 PM

They need protection!

Comments are closed for this post.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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