Please select your home edition
Ocean Safety 2023 - New Identity - LEADERBOARD

Biden-Harris Administration announces $82 million for endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

by NOAA Fisheries 22 Sep 18:09 UTC
North Atlantic right whale Smoke and calf © Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (NOAA Permit #20556-01)

Today, the Department of Commerce and NOAA announced next steps to conserve and recover endangered North Atlantic right whales with $82 million in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act—the largest climate and conservation investment in history. This announcement comes during Climate Week and is part of the $2.6 billion framework to invest in coastal resilience that NOAA announced earlier this year.

North Atlantic right whales are approaching extinction with fewer than 350 individuals remaining, including fewer than 70 reproductively active females. Today's funding provides an unprecedented opportunity to address the primary threats to the species—entanglements in fishing gear and vessel strikes—with new technologies and approaches.

"This historic funding will allow NOAA Fisheries to make critical advancements in our work to save the endangered North Atlantic right whale species," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. "With $82 million of Inflation Reduction Act funding, we are making smart investments—a cornerstone of Bidenomics—to help address the crisis these whales are facing through innovative solutions that minimize the impact on workers in marine industries."

New funding will support the application of existing technologies—such as passive acoustic monitoring—and the development and implementation of technologies to enable vessels to detect and avoid North Atlantic right whales and other large whales. Additionally, NOAA Fisheries will continue to develop and evaluate new technologies—such as those that use high-resolution satellite information—to transform North Atlantic right whale monitoring and improve understanding of the whales' distribution and habitat use.

"During the past decade, right whales have changed their distribution patterns, spending more time in areas with fewer protections from vessel strikes and entanglements," said Janet Coit, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries. "The species has experienced a severe population decline that has underscored the urgency to take new and innovative actions for their recovery. This funding allows us to invest in technologies to reduce the risk of vessel strikes, increase the use of on-demand fishing gear and improve enforcement of existing federal regulations."

Right Whale Investment Allocations

NOAA will invest in four major areas over the next 3 years to include monitoring and computer modeling of whale distribution, vessel strike risk reduction, on-demand fishing gear, and enforcement efforts. NOAA anticipates using funding as follows (amounts approximate):

Monitoring and Modeling: $35.8 Million

  • $17.2 million will go toward passive acoustic monitoring along the U.S. East Coast
  • $3.5 million will go toward a satellite tagging monitoring program, in addition to $5.6 million for high resolution satellite artificial intelligence
  • $5.2 million will be used for modeling advancements
Vessel Strike Reduction efforts: $20.1 Million
  • $16.7 million will be dedicated to whale detection and avoidance technology development
On-Demand Fishing Gear: $17.9 Million
  • Developing interoperability standards
  • Training for use of systems
  • Additional support
Enforcement Efforts: $5 Million
  • Enforcement efforts
  • New equipment and technologies
  • Operations
These funds support NOAA Fisheries' Road to Recovery for North Atlantic right whales. The species is endangered, declining, and experiencing an Unusual Mortality Event, which NOAA Fisheries declared in 2017 following the documentation of elevated right whale mortalities. This event is ongoing and includes 115 North Atlantic right whales that are deceased, seriously injured or in poor health.

Along with leveraging other funding and supporting the development of innovative fishing gear, NOAA will use Inflation Reduction Act funding to partner and coordinate with federal, state, industry and other partners to promote the development and implementation of advanced solutions to address existing and emerging threats to the species.

Related Articles

Study on offshore wind areas
Finding them a biologically important habitat for whales and dolphins Scientists use passive acoustic monitoring to create a baseline soundscape off the southern New England coast to help evaluate the potential impacts of offshore wind development on cetacean species. Posted on 4 Dec
Coral reef fish predictably change with depth
Except when people are present A new study reveals that human impacts are changing our understanding of patterns in reef-fish communities across ocean depths. Posted on 2 Dec
Recent sightings of highly endangered Right Whales
Four whales were spotted from the critically endangered population Four whales were spotted from the critically endangered population—at least one is new to researchers. Posted on 20 Nov
Large whale entanglement numbers in 2021
NOAA announces confirmed cases There were 70 large whale entanglement cases in 2021—an increase from 2020, but below the historical average. Posted on 19 Nov
Party balloon leads to whale death
A mylar balloon caused the death of a Gervais' beaked whale calf A mylar balloon caused the death of a Gervais' beaked whale calf that stranded off the coast of North Carolina. Posted on 19 Nov
Assessing vulnerability of fish to climate change
New NOAA research reveals species that may be most vulnerable or more resilient to climate change NOAA Fisheries published two new assessments of climate vulnerability for fish and invertebrates in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Large Marine Ecosystems. Posted on 15 Nov
Pollutants from mother's milk turn calves toxic
May raise concerns for killer whales that are closely related When bottlenose dolphins nurse their young, they transfer toxic pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and DDT to their calves through their milk. Posted on 11 Nov
Canopy Kelp forests persist in Coastal Alaska
Despite century of climatic and ecosystem change Drawing upon diverse datasets, scientists look for patterns of change and stability in an important nearshore habitat in a data-scarce region. Posted on 6 Nov
Local talent key to restoring Hawai'i Coral Reefs
The involvement of the local community and indigenous knowledge is imperative Threats to coral are increasing and the involvement of the local community is imperative. Posted on 4 Nov
Successful effort to rescue Humpback Whale
Trained responders freed the whale from a life-threatening entanglement near Gustavus, Alaska On October 10, NOAA Fisheries received reports of a severely entangled whale in coastal waters near Gustavus, Alaska. Posted on 4 Nov
Hyde Sails 2022 One Design FOOTERJ Composites 2022 - J99 FOOTERCrewsaver 2021 Safetyline FOOTER