North Atlantic right whales, one of the rarest marine mammals in the world, had a deadly year in 2017, as only 450 whales are left, of which 17 died this year.
This alarming situation make American and Canadian regulators consider the adoption of new steps in order to prevent the further reduction of right whales' population, John Bullard, the Northeast Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries stated.
An other concerning situation is the fact of poor reproduction, as there only 100 breeding North Atlantic right whales females left.
The human factor that causes the death of these animals must me reducted, Mark Murray-Brown, an Endangered Species Act consultant for NOAA said and continued by mentioning that two of the main reason of whales dying are vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.
The animals prefer to give birth in southern waters and then go to New England and Canada every spring and summer to feed, were all of this year's deaths occurred.
The reasons behind the rise of right whales' deaths are addressed in some recent reports.
Namely, Nature Scientific Reports stated that whales are moving more that before. Thus they go outside their protected areas to search food, being endangered for doing so.
Endangered Species Research reported last month that whales experience high stress, because of fishing gear entanglements. Stress has a negative impact because it harms the animals; ability to reproduce.
For this reason, new ways must be found for the continuation of fishing, without entangling whales, study co-author, Elizabeth Burgess, an associate scientist with the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium in Boston, noted.
Lastly, NOAA released a five year review of right whales in October, saying that the animals have to remain on the endangered list. Furthermore, recommendation were made for their protection, such as the development of a long-term plan for monitoring the population trends and habitat use and study of the impact of commercial fishing on right whales.