Calls for right whale protections ahead of eastern premiers, governors meeting

Right Whale

Massachusetts' attorney general is calling for political leaders in eastern North America to commit to stronger protections of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.

Maura Healey addressed a letter to eastern Canadian premiers and New England governors Wednesday asking for a joint statement that would expand protections for the species "on the brink of extinction.''

Eight right whales have died in Canadian waters this summer, out of a global population numbering only about 400.

Healey's letter is the latest in political developments from the United States on the issue of right whale protection as six U.S. governors and five Canadian premiers prepare to meet in Saint John, N.B., next week.

Last week, the Maine Lobstermen's Association stated it was pulling out of a U.S. agreement meant to reduce risk to right whales.

The organization says data shows vessel strikes and Canadian fishing gear account for more right whale deaths and injuries.