To the Editor:
I am writing about a subject that is very important to me: North Atlantic Right Whales. I am currently a senior at the University of Miami majoring in Marine Science and Biology but I have lived in Shrewsbury, MA my whole life. I have been fortunate enough to see a Right Whale in the wild off our New England coast. However, that sight is becoming increasingly a rare sight. During the height of whaling, a population of about 21,000 Right Whales was hunted down to only about 100 in the 1920’s. Even since the ban of whaling in the 30’s, their current population is only estimated at around 400, a decrease from the 483 recorded in 2010. This is still largely due to anthropogenic causes, mainly the presence of vertical lines from lobster traps all along the New England coast. Every year more whales and other marine mammals become entangled in lines from lobster traps and die. With their population so low already, they are in real danger of becoming extinct if nothing is done to reduce the presence of vertical lines in the ocean. This is not a call to reduce lobstering, but to simply find a better solution. Rope-less lobstering gear is a reality and in fact being manufactured right here in Massachusetts and lobstermen have already started using it with success. I hope people would consider talking to your friends, family, local elected officials, or lobstermen about this new possibility.
Joseph Peter Ricca