"PORTLAND, Maine — A coalition of environmental groups is calling on the federal government to enact emergency rules to protect a vanishing species of whale from lethal collisions with large ships.
The groups filed their petition with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Sept. 28 in an effort to protect the North Atlantic right whale. The whale, which can weigh more than five school buses, numbers less than 340 and has been in steep decline in recent years.
Ship collisions are among the most dire threats to the survival of the whale, according to NOAA. The groups cited a proposed rule from the agency designed to prevent such ship strikes by making more vessels slow down for whales. NOAA has yet to release a final updated speed rule despite proposing new rules more than a year ago, the environmental groups said."