Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
WDC team at UN Ocean conference

Give the ocean a chance – our message from the UN Ocean Conference

I'm looking out over the River Tejo in Lisbon, Portugal, reflecting on the astounding resilience...
We need whale poo ? WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...

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