By Bob Katzen

The Senate 39-0, approved an amendment that would provide $250,000 for the protection of right whales by increasing the patrols of officers to identify and remove abandoned fishing gear and to enhance their ability to enforce speed restrictions through use of drone technologies to minimize potentially harmful interactions between vessels and right whales.

Amendment supporters say more than 90 whales have either died or been injured since 2017 and that that there are fewer than 340 right whales remaining today. “Since its incorporation in 2005, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) group’s North American office has run a dedicated program to save this imperiled species and implement protective measures to save right whales from those threats,” says the group’s website. “WDC has worked to develop and implement rules to reduce vessel strikes, successfully reducing the risk of a fatal collision by 80 percent to 90 percent in U.S. waters, and to increase federally designated critical habitat to cover nearly 40,000 square miles of the U.S. East Coast.”

Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), the sponsor of the amendment, did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call asking him to comment on his amendment.

(A “Yes” vote is for the $250,000.)

Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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