Friday, November 6, 2009
The Right whale is one of the ocean's most endangered species with only a few hundred left in the North Atlantic, and a few thousand of its counterparts in the entire Southern Hemisphere.
The Right whale was historically a favorite of whalers (hence it was the "right" whale to hunt) because of its slow swimming speed. This species also floats after it is killed, making it easier to harvest.
Right whales are baleen whales that range from 35-55 feet long and weigh up to 117 tons.
The leading cause of death among the North Atlantic Right Whale, which migrates through some of the world's busiest shipping lanes whilst journeying off the east coast of the United States and Canada, is injury sustained from being struck by ships.
The United States government introduced measures to curb the decline of this species. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan was introduced in 1997. A key part of the plan was the introduction of mandatory reporting of large whale sightings by ships using U.S. ports. This requirement was implemented in July 1999.