Greenpeace calls for ocean protection to address whale deaths

In response to reports of a spate of whale deaths off the North East Coast of the United States, Arlo Hemphill, Greenpeace USA’s Senior Oceans Campaigner, said: “The unusual number of humpbacks washing up in New Jersey, New York, and Maryland recently is cause for alarm. This follows the discovery of over 170 dead whales that have washed ashore on the US East Coast since 2016. 

“Of the portion of those on which a post-mortem was conducted, a large percentage showed signs of human interaction, including boat strikes and fishing net entanglements. 

“In these latest cases, it’s too early to say what is responsible for all of these deaths, but we know that plastic garbage, ship strikes, ocean noise, entanglement and drowning in fishing gear are among the most common causes of whale mortality.”

Hemphill continued: “There is a lot at stake, and we need answers to ensure we are doing what’s best for people and the planet. At this time, due to the lack of evidence suggesting harm from offshore wind development, Greenpeace’s position remains that the best way to protect whales is to create ocean sanctuaries, eliminate single-use plastics at the source, and stop our dependency on oil and gas. 

“The upcoming negotiations for a Global Ocean Treaty and a Global Plastics Treaty are important opportunities that we should seize to make progress in these areas.”

Photo credit: iStock/ LeoMercon

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