PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A worldwide conservation organization said Thursday that the status of a rare species of whale has worsened to the point where it deserves greater attention from the global environmental community.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature said it is moving the North Atlantic right whale from “endangered” to “critically endangered” on its Red List of jeopardized species. The Switzerland-based organization’s Red List is one of the most-cited endangered species lists in the world.READ MORE: The Roaring 2020s? A Look At What The Post-Pandemic Economy Could Look Like
The IUCN said the total population of the whales declined about 15% from 2011 to 2018. The population is estimated to be about 400 animals now. The species has been plagued by high mortality and poor reproduction in recent years.
The North Atlantic right whale has been uplisted from Endangered to Critically Endangered status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Learn more about the Aquarium’s 40-year history of right whale conservation research and solutions here: https://t.co/xffuYqHqZR pic.twitter.com/DE3ypma8iD
— New England Aquarium (@NEAQ) July 9, 2020READ MORE: Police Search For Suspect After Report Of Shots Fired At Salem Walmart
The IUCN said the whale’s decline “is being driven by a combination of increased mortality due to entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes, and a lower reproduction rate compared to previous years.” It said climate change is another concern.
The U.S. lobster industry is facing the possibility of new restrictions to try to protect the whales, which travel from Georgia and Florida to New England every year.MORE NEWS: Massachusetts Reopening Plan: COVID Restrictions Loosen Monday, Including Restaurant Capacity
(© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)