North Atlantic Right Whale
© NOAA

North Atlantic Right Whale

Success Stories

Protecting Right Whales from Ship Strikes

In 2008, Defenders of Wildlife won two significant victories to protect right whales from the threat of ship strikes.  First, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced it would finally carry through on its years-long promise to slow down large ocean-going vessels in right whale habitat around East Coast ports. Second, the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia held that the Coast Guard must ensure that designated shipping traffic lanes in U.S. waters will not jeopardize the continued existence of these endangered whales.

More recently, we received confirmation that the slow-speed zones we worked so hard to establish have been officially made permanent!

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Protecting Right Whales from Fishing Gear Entanglement

In 2009, Defenders of Wildlife succeeded in preventing the rollback of protections against fishing gear entanglement while new measures were being phased in. We continue to fight for protections sufficient to end right whale deaths by entanglement.

In 2013, we gained an vital litigation victory to force the National Marine Fisheries Service to officially address the threat that entanglement poses to these endangered whales.

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