governments and North Atlantic right whale protection agencies?
'Right whales were severely depleted by whaling in the 19th century. There are only a few hundred left, in waters not far off the coast. Recovery has been hampered by collisions with ships, which have killed many right whales and hampered recovery of population levels. Unfortunately, the habitat of the right whale coincides with busy shipping lanes...
Explain the measures governments and North Atlantic right whale protection agencies are taking to ensure the survival of this species?
- AJLv 79 years agoFavorite Answer
KEY PROTECTION MEASURES FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE FACT SHEET
Designation of Critical Habitat: In June 1994, NOAA's Fisheries Service designated three areas in U.S. waters as critical habitats. The primary goal of the critical habitat designations is to contribute to species protection by identifying key areas and describing the features within the areas that are essential to the species, thus alerting public and private entities of the importance of the areas. The critical habitat designation does not restrict human activities within an area or mandate any specific management or recovery action.
Vessel Approach Regulations: In February 1997, NOAA's Fisheries Service implemented a regulation to minimize boat disturbance of right whales by restricting vessel approaches. These regulations prohibit all approaches within 500 yards (460m) of any right whale, whether by ship, aircraft or other means. Exceptions exist for emergency situations and where certain authorizations are provided.
Advice Ship Operations by Other Agencies: NOAA's Fisheries Service provides right whale conservation advice and recommendations to fleets of other agencies including the Army Corp of Engineers, the U.S Navy, and the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as the NOAA Corp fleet. These agencies and their ship pilots are well aware of the right whale crisis and have altered many of their operations to reduce the chance of hitting a right whale.
Reducing Entanglement in Fishing Gear: NOAA's Fisheries Service established teams of multi-agency experts that provide recommendations to NOAA to reduce the level of injury and death in whales from fishing gear entanglements. These include time and area closures and modifications to fishing gear and practices.
Updating Nautical Charts and Coast Pilots: To ensure safe navigation in U.S. coastal waters, the NOAA's Ocean Service publishes and periodically updates nautical charts and a series of regional books called Coast Pilots. In U.S. waters, all ship's captains are required to carry these basic references on regional environmental conditions and navigation hazards. The Fisheries Service continues to provide information and to update the Coast Pilots on right whales and other protected marine species. Key information on the status of right whales is included in the guide including, the times and areas where they are most concentrated, and the threats to whales by ships, and advice on measures mariners might take to avoid hitting right whales.
Updating Notice to Mariners: The National Imagery and Mapping Agency issues annual Notice to Mariners. In 1998 and 1999, NOAA's Fisheries Service updated this language to include discussion of the vulnerability of right whales to ship strikes and guidance on how to avoid ship strikes. The Fisheries Service also works closely with the agency to update Sailing Directions, a maritime publication for international waters.
International Safety Management Code: The International Safety Management Code requires vessel companies and owners to develop a procedure for safety of passengers and vessels at sea, which includes environmental protection measures and protocol. The Fisheries Service is working with the U.S. Coast Guard to ensure that the implementing regulations include information regarding vessel operation that is consistent with protective measures for right whales and other protected marine species.
Education Programs: Several federal agencies and conservation organizations have collaborated on developing informational brochures, pamphlets and informational papers to educate mariners about the vulnerability of right whales to ship strikes.
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