Kerry: President Bush's Refusal to Support Protections for Strellwagen Unacceptable
Senator John Kerry issued the following statement on the draft management plan for Stellwagen National Sanctuary that was released earlier today.
"We established Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in 1992 to preserve one of the most remarkable and productive fishing grounds in the world. The Sanctuary is home to over 17 marine mammal species, including the critically endangered right whale. Today's draft management plan makes it clear that we're not doing enough to protect Stellwagen," said Kerry. "This is no time for President Bush to be trying to cut funding for the Marine Sanctuary Program base. Anything less than full funding is simply unacceptable. The administration needs to stop playing politics and finalize the ship strike rule to reduce one of the two leading threats to right whales."
There are fewer than 350 right whales left in existence today. Last month the Commerce Committee passed Kerry's "Ship Strike Reduction Act of 2008" to force the Administration to release the final rule to reduce collisions between these endangered whales and ships. Ship strikes are one of the two leading causes of right whale injuries and deaths, and have caused 37% of known whale deaths since 1986.