This year, I am adding a very special recipient to my Valentine’s list: the North Atlantic right whale. Instead of chocolate, I am sending a much more important message: human interest does not trump their right to survive.
Over the last several decades, the number one cause of death for right whales has been vessel strikes. These slow-moving surface feeders don’t stand a chance against boats larger than semi-trucks with sharp propellers. Just two months ago, the federal government made an important and well-founded decision to permanently enforce the ship strike speed rule to protect North Atlantic right whales. Unfortunately, those very protections are now in jeopardy as groups lobby to make an exception to this rule, and it is up to all of us to make sure legislators don’t recant on their promise to protect North Atlantic right whales from extinction.
This recent upheaval is a result of a petition filed by some members of the shipping industry, asking to eliminate the speed restrictions in the busiest shipping channels along the east coast. The petition threatens to undermine the protections that you worked so hard to get in place through your support of the Act Right Now campaign.
While we can understand the challenges the ship strike rule may pose for the shipping industry, we also know that solutions can be found that do not push the critically endangered right whale into extinction. If we allow industry to proceed at the expense of valuable living beings, then surely we cannot credit ourselves with the ingenuity, creativity and humanity that this country was founded upon.
We only have until March 3rd to stop this disastrous proposal and give right whales a chance to recover. Please join me in showing your love for the right whale this Valentine’s Day and Sign the petition to urge the US Government to maintain the Ship Strike Speed Reduction Rule as is! It takes less than five minutes, and WILL make a difference.