CIEREnv 2008-12-09 14:37:58
經過環保團體5年來的努力，美國國家海洋暨大氣總署（Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA）將要求長度65英呎以上的船隻，進入美國東岸主要港口20海浬範圍內以後，必須將船速降至10節以內，避免北大西洋露脊鯨（North Atlantic Right Whales）遭受傷害。高度瀕危的北大西洋露脊鯨，經常因不小心游進大型船隻之間而受傷死亡，NOAA官員表示，目前北大西洋露脊鯨總數僅存3、400 隻，而與船隻碰撞是其主要威脅，因此為了恢復鯨群數量，將開始強制執行這項規定。環保團體雖然讚許這項進步，但對於該規定有5年期限表示遺憾。環保團體表示，要用5年證明措施有效並不容易，因為往往被發現的鯨魚屍體數量並非實際的死亡數量，所以很有可能發生被找到的屍體增加，但實際死亡數量減少的情況。
Ships must slow for slow-moving whales
WASHINGTON—North Atlantic Right Whales are among the most endangered whales in the world, and many times they are killed after swimming into large ships. Starting Tuesday, NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will require ships 65 feet or longer to slow their speed. They must stay below ten knots within 20 nautical miles of key ports along the United States east coast.
“It’s a highly endangered species,” said Greg Silber, the coordinator for recovery activities for endangered large whale species at NOAA. “There are about three or four hundred individuals total in the entire population. Collisions with vessels is the major threat and we really need to address this in order for this population to recover.”
After a five-year push from environmental organizations, the regulation was approved in October and will now be enforced.
Although many environmental groups appreciate the move to protect the species, they aren’t completely content. “It’s long overdue,” said Sharon Young, the marine issues field director for the Humane Society of the United States. “The biggest disappointment in this rule is that it contains a five-year, what’s called a sun-down clause, which basically expires in five years.” Five years from now in 2013, the regulation will only continue if there is proof that it is effective.
But Young says that proving effectiveness is difficult. The number of whales’ bodies found may not be the complete number of whales actually killed.
“If we found four whales’ bodies in the last five years, we might have actually had 15 whales killed, we just didn’t find most of them. Whereas in the next five years, we might actually find five dead whales even though only seven of the animals actually died,” said Young who said the rule might ultimately result in a 50 percent reduction in whale deaths. “So even though the actual number of bodies found went up, it might make it look as though the rules might not have been effective when they could actually be pretty effective.”
NOAA said it is still in the process of setting up the standards for measuring the effectiveness of the regulation.