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North Atlantic Right Whales

North Atlantic right whales are the most endangered large whales in the world.

In 2000, through photo identification, the entire population of North Atlantic right whales was estimated at between 250-300 individuals. Currently, the remaining whales can be spotted off the coasts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

Commercial fishing kills north Atlantic right whales every year. The main threats to the species are accidental collisions with boats and drowning due to fish gear entanglement. Given the low population numbers, each whale killed might jeopardize the existence of the species.

Although north Atlantic right whales continue to fall victim to bycatch, the federal government is not making the appropriate changes needed to protect these animals from potential extinction. This lack of action is clearly a violation of both the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).

To help protect the north Atlantic right whales and other marine mammals, Oceana works to prevent damaging changes from being made to the Marine Mammal Protection Act and to ensure that the government applies the standards of the ESA and MMPA.

In addition, Oceana participates on three take reduction teams (TRTs), which are stakeholder teams that work to reduce the bycatch of marine mammals in fishing gear.