Washington (April 26, 2018) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, sent a letter this week with 11 of his Senate colleagues requesting that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) conduct an urgent assessment of the impacts to the North Atlantic right whale from fisheries in Canada. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NOAA Fisheries conducts studies that inform whether the Department of Commerce will take action against foreign fisheries that do not protect marine mammals. Over the past decades, fishing communities across New England have taken steps to reduce impacts on marine mammals. Unfortunately, last year the significant majority of observed right whale deaths were in Canadian waters. This year, Canada’s Minister of Oceans and Fisheries did announce new steps to address the right whale crisis. However, NOAA has not yet assessed if those efforts will be sufficient under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
“Now is the right time to do the right thing for the North Atlantic right whale,” write the Senators in their letter to NOAA Acting Administrator Dr. Timothy Gaulludet. “We need a rapid but sound assessment that can direct any next steps that will need to be taken to save this critically endangered mammal.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Also signing the letter are Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).