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Dolphin in Brazil helping with fishing illustration

Dolphins and fishermen working together

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Curious kids Blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery Splish and Splash...
Gray whale (eschrichtius robustus) Gray whale in Ojo de liebre lagoon Baja California.

Why we’re walking for whales to save the world

We've got enormous ambitions when it comes to fighting climate breakdown, and so two members...
Dolphins with keepers in the new Windsor Safari Park. Image: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Three decades on from UK’s last dolphin show, what needs to change?

The UK hasn't had captive whales and dolphins on display for 30 years, but it's...
Fishers' involvement is crucial. Image: WDC/JTF

When porpoises and people overlap

We're funding a project in Hong Kong that's working with fishing communities to help save...
Whale evolution cover

How did whales end up living in the ocean?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Curious kids Blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery Splish and Splash...
Fishers chatting

Scottish fishers working with us to reduce risks to whales

Small changes to fishing gear could make a big difference to whales around Scotland, and...

Mindful conservation – why we need a new respect for nature

'We should look at whales and dolphins as the indigenous people of the seas -...
tins of whale meat

How Japan’s whaling industry is trying to convince people to eat whales

Japan's hunters kill hundreds of whales every year despite the fact that hardly anyone in...

Saving the North Atlantic Right Whale…

We at WDC-NA have been working overtime to raise awareness of the ship strike rule and its potential expiration, which would increase the risk to right whales. Our job here is to pay attention to policy issues such as these and call attention to them. While our official comments to the government certainly matter, the comments from ordinary citizens are what can truly make a difference. WDC is a force of advocacy and scientific information, so we can certainly make sound arguments as to why the ship strike rule should be extended, but public voices communicate the need for change to our government, and why protecting right whales matters outside of the scientific community.

WDC has been collecting signatures and comments from interested individuals since December of 2012, and on August 5th, we passed these signatures and comments from global citizens on to NOAA and the US government.   At the close of this pivotal phase of our campaign, we received over 75,000 comments and signatures in support of extending the ship strike rule and implementing additional protections for right whales. At the time comments were due to NOAA, WDC had determined that 74,525 comments and signatures met the criteria needed for official submission to the government. 


By telling the government that you care about right whales, they must recognize the need for change and take into account the desire of citizens to protect this species. Submitting comments is an important representation of peoples’ voice in the government, and represents how citizens can create an impetus for change. As one organization, WDC can submit one comment to the government regarding the ship strike rule, but by acting on behalf of concerned citizens, we can submit literally tens of thousands, all of which can impact the future of North Atlantic right whales.

As always, thank you for your interest in our work and thank you for helping us save a species. The collective effort of our extended community helps to quantify the need for change to our government’s policy makers. WDC appreciates the efforts of everyone who has engaged in this effort and we’ll look for continued support as we continue the fight to ACT RIGHT NOW to save the North Atlantic right Whale. Now that we’ve let NOAA know how we feel about the ship strike rule, we’re focusing on entanglements by working to reduce the amount of vertical fishing line found in critical habitat.

More on the Ship Strike Rule …
Fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales remain, and their survival is constantly threatened by human activity, including vessel strikes and entanglements. In 2008, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) enacted a “ship strike rule” to help protect these critically endangered whales. The rule requires vessels 65ft and larger to slow to 10 knots in places right whales live, a tactic that has been proven by numerous studies to significantly reduce the risk of ship strikes to right whales. NOAA’s own data show that slowing ships reduces the chance of a ship strike by 80-90%. Despite these encouraging numbers, the rule is set to expire on December 9, 2013.

More on our international reach with this effort … 

Comments from across the United States                                      Countries taking action during this phase