Moulton Secures $1.5 Million Increase for Right Whale ResearchSALEM, Mass. – Last night, Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) successfully amended the House of Representatives' version of legislation that will fund the government next year to include an additional $1.5 million for research to help scientists, commercial fishermen and conservation groups better protect the critically-endangered North Atlantic right whale. This is on top of the $1 million already included in the bill, bringing Congress’s total FY20 investment to $2.5 million.
“The fight to save the 420 remaining North Atlantic right whales is also a fight to protect thousands of jobs in commercial fishing and tourism in Massachusetts,” Moulton said. “We can be the generation that saves the North Atlantic right whale, or the generation that watches the species go extinct. This is a great step forward, but we have much more work to do.”
Earlier this year, Moulton partnered with Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) to reintroduce the Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (SAVE) Right Whales Act, a bipartisan plan that would invest $5 million annually in government grants that states, non-profits, and members of the fishing and marine shipping industries can use to fund research and efforts that restore the North Atlantic right whale population. This spring, the House Committee on Natural Resources marked-up the bill and passed it out of committee, a promising step forward in the process through which a bill becomes a law.
In May, Moulton and Rutherford teamed up with New England Aquarium CEO Vikki Spruill to issue a public plea for Congress to fund right whale research in Commonwealth Magazine. In the op-ed the trio outlined the threats right whales face and commended the partnerships between commercial fishermen, the scientific community and conservationists who have joined together on efforts to protect the whale and prevent human-caused deaths.
The amendment's success is promising, but it does not guarantee the funding will come through. The House will vote on the final passage of the bill next week, and the Republican-controlled Senate is working on its own version of the spending plan. Once both chambers pass their versions of the plans, negotiators from the House and Senate will confer and produce a single plan that will head to the president’s desk.