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IMAGE imgs/MsoDockBottom28.gif

This diagram shows the extent of rope entanglement a whale can experience.

"The general degradation of coastal marine habitats may ultimately be the most important

factor affecting recovery of the Northern Right Whale."5 9Alarmingly, several municipalities in

the Northern Right Whale habitat locations have proposed plans to have designated dump sites in

the Cape Cod Bay area and Stellwagen Bank. Thus far, there have been no concerted efforts on

the municipalities' part to conduct studies on the damaging effects to the Northern Right Whale

or the marine environment. Furthermore, extensive dredging occurs in areas that are the only

known calving grounds for Northern Right Whales.60Of course, the effects have not been

studied. Another reason for population decline could be contamination from their method of food

consumption; that is, every time the whale feeds by skimming zooplankton from the surface, the

whale may be contaminated by the pollution, oil, and other toxic substances that lay on the ocean

59 http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/prot_res/readingrm/Recoverplans/rgtwhlrp.pdf. 60 http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/prot_res/readingrm/Recoverplans/rgtwhlrp.pdf.