August 02, 2021

Moulton Succeeds In Attaching $16.9 Million For Right Whale Research In House Appropriations Bill

Salem, Mass.  Today, Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA) announced that he successfully amended the House of Representatives' version of legislation that will fund the government next year to include $16.9 million for research to help scientists, commercial fishermen and conservation groups better protect the critically-endangered North Atlantic right whale. 

Rep Moulton said: “North Atlantic right whales are a critical piece of our diverse marine wildlife and are a fundamental part of our ocean's ecosystem. This funding is an urgent next step to prevent their extinction."

Within this funding, up to $3,500,000 is provided for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to address state and industry priorities around fishery data gaps to support improved modeling and analysis to inform future regulatory changes, including vessel or gear tracking or other harvester reporting enhancements to improve co-occurrence models of fishing activity and whale presence.

Back in 2019, Moulton reintroduced the Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (SAVE) Right Whales Act, a 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. Moulton plans on introducing the same bill later this year. 

The amendment's success is promising, but it does not guarantee the funding will come through. Last week, the House voted to pass the bill, while the Senate has yet to take up any appropriations bills for the new fiscal year. Once this happens, however, both chambers will pass their versions of the plans, and negotiators from the House and Senate will confer and produce a single plan that will head to the president’s desk.