Statement on federal judge’s ruling in support of North Atlantic right whale protections

BOSTON, MASS. (April 10, 2020) – The New England Aquarium’s right whale research team is enthusiastic about Judge Boasberg’s decision in support of North Atlantic right whales. As the team who has been monitoring the entanglement situation for these whales for decades, we have seen firsthand the trauma this species has suffered from fishing gear entanglements. It has been incredibly challenging to witness their suffering and decline while also getting pushback from fishing industry representatives who remain resistant to considering changes to how they presently fish.

At the New England Aquarium, in collaboration with multiple partners, we have been working diligently to understand the entanglement situation for right whales and to use our findings to put forward solutions for mitigating the risk they face from fishing gear. Working with fishermen, rope manufacturers, and engineers, there are options in hand to reduce or eliminate the risk of entanglements in fixed fishing gear including reduced breaking strength ropes and ropeless fishing.

With this decision from Judge Boasberg, we hope that the federal government moves quickly to promulgate meaningful regulations that protect right whales throughout their range while allowing the fishing industry to adapt to new ways of doing business. 



Pam Bechtold Snyder