The Maine Coalition for North Atlantic Right Whales has issued the following statement on the Maine Delegation’s Omnibus Rider that has ensured a six-year delay on regulatory action by NOAA to prevent large whale entanglement.
Contact your elected officials to advocate for right whales
Here is a suggested letter template:
The situation facing North Atlantic right whales off the Maine coast is dire. Since 2017 NOAA has documented more than 50 deaths and serious injuries likely to result in death. A recent study shows that for every observed right whale mortality, there are almost three that go undocumented. NOAA has determined that the number of “acceptable” deaths (known as Potential Biological Removal or PBR) is 0.8 individuals per year in order for the species to survive. Without serious and immediate protections for right whales, this iconic species will be functionally extinct within two decades.
Your action is critical in the following areas:
Maine pot fisheries bear proportional responsibility for right whale entanglement; we urge you to take immediate steps to acknowledge and address Maine gear entanglement risk.
Understand and utilize current research and expert scientific advisors familiar with the extensive body of right whale research to inform Maine’s entanglement mitigation strategy.
Invest in whale-safe fishing solutions. Support the lobster fishery’s transition to universal use of weak contrivances and/or reduced breaking strength vertical lines, and a near-term transition to on-demand, ropeless trap retrieval technology. Guarantee that fishermen and their families will not bear financial responsibility for saving right whales from extinction.
Position Maine as a leader in the fight to save right whales, and as a model for innovative fishing technologies among our neighbors. Massachusetts and Canada are already making these moves – don’t let Maine be left behind!
With state and Federal-specific lobster gear marking launched in 2020 for Maine fishing grounds, it is only a matter of time before a right whale shows up entangled in Maine gear. Are you willing to risk further Maine fishing gear entanglements and the resulting stain on Maine's reputation? We urge you to not wait for that evidence while right whales suffer needlessly.
The extinction of the right whale may be averted if you and other Maine leaders have the courage and vision to act now. With your leadership, the Maine lobster fishery has the chance to become a hero in this story, and can lead among northeast fisheries in implementing fishing practices that ensure our oceans are safer for whales and other wildlife.
[YOUR TOWN/CITY] , MAINE
Your letter may be sent to the attention of the elected officials listed below.
Governor Janet Mills
Email Gov. Mills
Call: (207) 287-3531
Sen. Angus King
Email Senator King
Call: (207) 622-8292
Sen. Susan Collins
Email Senator Collins
Call: (207) 622-8414
Rep. Chellie Pingree
Email Rep. Pingree
Call: (207) 774-5019
Rep. Jared Golden
Email Rep. Golden
Call: (207) 249-7400
Spread the word to your local officials, too! Find your state reps here: https://nrcm.salsalabs.org/mainelegislatorlookup/index.html
Thank you for your efforts to show our elected officials that Mainers care about the future of right whales.
RECENT ADVOCACY MEASURES
The Maine Coalition for North Atlantic Right Whales sent a letter to Governor Janet Mills and the Maine congressional delegation in early October of 2021 sharing our concerns about misinformation on right whales in Maine, especially in regards to right whale entanglement and the Maine lobster fishery. The full letter can be found below.