Thank you, yes you, all 7,570 of you who took time out of your day to sign a petition to protect North Atlantic right whales. I don’t always sign petitions– there are so many out there on so many topics and websites. I don’t always know if they get to the person/place/agency intended, or if anyone is listening or cares that my name was added. I wonder if it really matters. The short answer is I don’t know about all of the petitions out there, but I do know about those that WDC asks you to sign, and it does matter. WDC makes sure they are getting to policy makers, and we make sure they are listening.
Last year, through our Act Right Now campaign, we asked you to sign our petition and you listened. As a result, we submitted more than half of the 145,879 comments that NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service received, asking them to extend the ship strike speed rule to save critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, of which fewer than 500 remain. The NMFS listened too, and the rule was extended indefinitely. But last month, that very rule was threatened when the American Pilot’s Association asked the NMFS to remove speed restrictions in the busiest shipping channels along the East Coast of the US. Again, we asked for you to give right whales a voice, and again, you came through.
This week, on your behalf, we submitted your request to the NMFS to maintain the speed rule as is, and told them that you believe that right whales deserve to be protected. And to make sure that they received the message loud and clear, we worked with our conservation partners at The Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and Duke University to demand protections for right whales. And, as a private citizen, I added my voice to this issue as well. Like the team of people with whom I function at WDC, working to protect these whales is not our job, it’s our lives. We function as a team with each other, with our partner organizations, and with our supporters. Our voices are strongest and loudest together. Thank you for saving whales through supporting our workand our petitions. It matters.