Feds Expanding Endangered Right Whale Habitat in Atlantic
PORTLAND, Maine - The federal government is expanding habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whales to include more feeding and birthing areas.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the expansion will cover the whales' northeast feeding areas in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank and southeast calving grounds from North Carolina to Florida. The agency says the new rules do not add new restrictions or management measures for commercial fishermen.
NOAA saying the rules are based on 35 years of aircraft and ship surveys. The species has improved to 500 animals from an estimated 300 in 1994.
The Center for Biological Diversity lauds the move and says it will protect almost 40,000 square miles for the whales. Whaling motivated by the right whales' high oil yields decimated the species' population.