How IFAW Influences US Policy To Protect Whales
One way we work to protect whales is by advising governments on policies that impact whales. In the US this is done is by submitting comments in support of better protections for National Marine Sanctuaries. Over 20 species of marine mammals call this area off the Massachusetts coast home. It's even the feeding grounds for the population of humpback whales that have been studied more than any other place on earth.
The government is required by the National Environmental Policy Act to solicit comments from interested persons or organizations before undertaking a 'major federal action' as finalizing the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Management Plan. The government asks the public to submit comments on their plans first because they are required to by law, but also because members of the public may know the affected area, the resources, and the community more intimately than any government agency or consulting firm ever will, and they may have a personal stake in the outcome of environmental decisions. This notice and comment allows the government to make informed decisions.
IFAW, with its heaqquarters mere miles from the Sanctuary, decided to comment on the Stellwagen Bank Plan because we are interested in the wise management and protection of the Sanctuary's rich resources. Specifically, IFAW feels that the government can immediately implement a number of measures designed to protect large whales; endangered right whales, whale food stocks, and habitat incuded within the 842 square mile sanctuary.