Isakson introduces legislation to further protect North Atlantic right whales

Georgia News

FILE – In this March 28, 2018, file photo, a North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass. Six of the endangered right whales died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in June 2019, prompting scientists and conservationists to call for a swift response to protect the endangered species. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAV) – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson introduced legislation this week to further protect the North Atlantic right whale, Georgia’s official state marine mammal.

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered whales, and the coast of Georgia is one of the few known calving grounds for the species.

The proposed legislation, The Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (SAVE) Right Whales Act, S. 2453, would establish a grant program to promote collaboration between states, nongovernmental organizations and members of the fishing and shipping industry to reduce human impacts on the whales. It would also promote the recovery of the right whale population.

“The North Atlantic right whale was named the official Georgia state marine mammal when I served as minority leader in the Georgia State House, and I am proud that my state’s coast is still home to one of the few known calving grounds for this magnificent animal,” Isakson said in a statement Thursday. “I’m glad to introduce the Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered Right Whales Act to help learn about how we can better protect this important animal whose numbers continue to dwindle.”

The North Atlantic right whale was listed as endangered in 1970 and became protected species shortly after. It was named the official Georgia marine mammal in 1985. It is estimated that roughly 400 whales remain today.

U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) first introduced the legislation in 2018. Isakson joined them in reintroducing the legislation on Tuesday for consideration during the new session of Congress. U.S. Representatives Seth Moulton (D-Mass.-06) and John Rutherford (R-Fla.-04) are leading a companion measure in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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