NOAA clears boaters of blame in crash that killed endangered whale

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement will not push for criminal charges against the crew of a fishing vessel that hit a pair of endangered, North Atlantic right whales in February 2021.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement will not push for criminal charges against the crew of a fishing vessel that hit a pair of endangered, North Atlantic right whales in February 2021.

“After a thorough review of the facts of this case, NOAA OLE has declined in the interests of justice to refer this matter for civil or criminal prosecution,” a special agent with the administration wrote in a June 8 letter.

Right whales are protected by the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and a third federal law that prohibits anyone from approaching a right whale within 500 yards.

Ultimately, the administration determined that the captain of the 54-foot vessel was not at fault and could likely have done very little to prevent the crash.

It could happen to anyone Right whale calving season runs through mid-April in Atlantic state and federal waters off...

Posted by FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute on Friday, January 14, 2022

Of the two whales that were hit, -- a mother and her calf, -- the calf didn’t survive its injuries. The mother, named Infinity, was later spotted by searchers off the coast of Southeast Georgia.


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