Monday, July 22, 2024

NOAA Identifies Source Of Rope That Killed Right Whale Calf


The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week determined that the rope that killed a North Atlantic Right Whale calf came from Maine.

According to a NOAA Fisheries statement:

“Based upon our analysis of the gear, including the purple markings on the rope recovered from North Atlantic right whale #5120, NOAA Fisheries has concluded that the rope is consistent with the rope used in Maine state water trap/pot buoy lines. We have been in consultation with our New England state resource management partners, and they have viewed the gear.

“As of today the full necropsy results are still pending. The NOAA Office of Law Enforcement investigation remains open.”

Gib Brogan, campaign director at Oceana, said:

“Today the federal government re-confirmed that critically endangered North Atlantic right whales can and do get entangled in fishing gear from Maine. The lobster fishery and the Maine delegation have repeatedly denied culpability for whale entanglements, and they can no longer stand on this fantasy. Maine needs to take responsibility for the harm it is causing to this critically endangered species and find a workable solution instead of denying facts and dragging its feet to make changes.

“Through acoustic, aerial, and visual detection methods, we know that North Atlantic right whales are regularly in Maine waters and that whales are at risk anywhere ropes are present.

“For more than half of its short life, this young whale suffered from rope embedded in its tail, causing a slow and needless death because our government was unable to enact proper protections to prevent entanglements. In 2022, the Maine delegation delivered what was billed as a ‘Christmas gift‘ to the lobster industry by blocking new fishery rules that would have protected these whales until 2029. Because of industry lobbying and Congressional interference, more whales are at risk of long, slow, gruesome deaths like this one.

“NOAA is long overdue at establishing effective safeguards for North Atlantic right whales that prevent entanglements and simultaneously allow the lobster fishery to operate in a truly sustainable way.”

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.