Last week, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries held a robust oversight hearing on the negative impacts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) proposed changes to the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule. Recreational anglers and boaters were well-represented by National Marine Manufacturers Association President Frank Hugelmeyer and Captain Fred Gamboa of Andreas’ Toy Charters in New Jersey. Other witnesses on the panel were: NOAA Deputy Administrator Janet Coit; American Pilots’ Association Executive Director Clayton Diamond, and Associate Vice President of Ocean Conservation Science Dr. Jessica Redfern for the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at New England Aquarium.
Everyone in the hearing room agreed: conserving North Atlantic right whales is important. The recreational fishing and boating community is committed to finding technological solutions with the goal of mitigating the risk of vessel strikes to all marine mammals, with special attention to North Atlantic right whales.