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A dolphin called Arnie with a shell

Dolphins catch fish using giant shell tools

In Shark Bay, Australia, two groups of dolphins have figured out how to use tools...
Common dolphins at surface

Did you know that dolphins have unique personalities?

We all have personalities, and between the work Christmas party and your family get-together, perhaps...
Leaping harbour porpoise

The power of harbour porpoise poo

We know we need to save the whale to save the world. Now we are...
Holly. Image: Miray Campbell

Meet Holly, she’s an incredible orca leader

Let me tell you the story of an awe-inspiring orca with a fascinating family story...
Humpback whale. Image: Christopher Swann

A story about whales and humans

As well as working for WDC, I write books for young people. Stories; about the...
Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...

Saving the North Atlantic Right Whale…

We at WDC-NA have been working overtime to raise awareness of the ship strike rule and its potential expiration, which would increase the risk to right whales. Our job here is to pay attention to policy issues such as these and call attention to them. While our official comments to the government certainly matter, the comments from ordinary citizens are what can truly make a difference. WDC is a force of advocacy and scientific information, so we can certainly make sound arguments as to why the ship strike rule should be extended, but public voices communicate the need for change to our government, and why protecting right whales matters outside of the scientific community.

WDC has been collecting signatures and comments from interested individuals since December of 2012, and on August 5th, we passed these signatures and comments from global citizens on to NOAA and the US government.   At the close of this pivotal phase of our campaign, we received over 75,000 comments and signatures in support of extending the ship strike rule and implementing additional protections for right whales. At the time comments were due to NOAA, WDC had determined that 74,525 comments and signatures met the criteria needed for official submission to the government. 


By telling the government that you care about right whales, they must recognize the need for change and take into account the desire of citizens to protect this species. Submitting comments is an important representation of peoples’ voice in the government, and represents how citizens can create an impetus for change. As one organization, WDC can submit one comment to the government regarding the ship strike rule, but by acting on behalf of concerned citizens, we can submit literally tens of thousands, all of which can impact the future of North Atlantic right whales.

As always, thank you for your interest in our work and thank you for helping us save a species. The collective effort of our extended community helps to quantify the need for change to our government’s policy makers. WDC appreciates the efforts of everyone who has engaged in this effort and we’ll look for continued support as we continue the fight to ACT RIGHT NOW to save the North Atlantic right Whale. Now that we’ve let NOAA know how we feel about the ship strike rule, we’re focusing on entanglements by working to reduce the amount of vertical fishing line found in critical habitat.

More on the Ship Strike Rule …
Fewer than 500 North Atlantic right whales remain, and their survival is constantly threatened by human activity, including vessel strikes and entanglements. In 2008, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) enacted a “ship strike rule” to help protect these critically endangered whales. The rule requires vessels 65ft and larger to slow to 10 knots in places right whales live, a tactic that has been proven by numerous studies to significantly reduce the risk of ship strikes to right whales. NOAA’s own data show that slowing ships reduces the chance of a ship strike by 80-90%. Despite these encouraging numbers, the rule is set to expire on December 9, 2013.

More on our international reach with this effort … 

Comments from across the United States                                      Countries taking action during this phase