Photo credit: Jessica Taylor
The North Atlantic Right Whale, Eubalaena glacialis, is listed as ‘ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Historically, it was common on both sides of the Atlantic; today, this whale appears to be effectively extinct in the eastern North Atlantic.
The North Atlantic Right Whale is currently one of the rarest of the large whales, having been hunted relentlessly for centuries before being given protection in the 1930s. The main threats are ship collisions and entanglements in commercial fishing gear. Other threats include manmade underwater noise (which may interfere with communication and foraging) and habitat loss due to intensive human use of bays and harbours.
Efforts are underway in the US and Canada to limit deaths and injuries due to ship strikes and entanglements. Shipping routes have been changed and ship speed limits introduced around some ports to reduce collision risks. Regulations are also in place in the US requiring modifications to fishing gear and restricting the use of certain types of gear in areas and at times when right whales are common.
To learn more about the North Atlantic Right Whale, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species by clicking their logo below.