Endangered North Atlantic Right Whale Population Continues To Grow

Publication date

Irving Oil Celebrates Partnership with New England Aquarium as Research Funding Exceeds $1 Million

SAINT JOHN, NB — The North Atlantic right whale was once hunted almost to extinction, but seventeen years ago Irving Oil began working with the New England Aquarium to protect this endangered species. The partnership is making a difference; the right whale population now exceeds five hundred, which is the highest population on record since research began three decades ago.

Irving Oil’s contribution to protecting the North Atlantic right whale helps fund right whale research, conservation, and education. For two months each summer and fall, researchers conduct shipboard surveys of North Atlantic right whales in the Bay of Fundy critical habitat area. They record whale sightings, track calving records and mortality rates, help untangle whales caught in fishing gear, and collect information regarding acoustics, genetics, and social behaviour. Over the winter months, researchers analyze this data that is essential to monitoring the health of the population, and creating additional programs that will help protect the North Atlantic right whale.

“The work our research team undertakes in the Bay of Fundy is critical to the right whale’s long term survival and it wouldn’t be possible without the help of Irving Oil,” says Moira Brown, Senior Scientist at the New England Aquarium. “Our partnership is protecting right whales; over three hundred calves have been born since 1998 and the right whale population now numbers over five hundred.”

“We’re proud of our long-term commitment to both the endangered right whale and our partnership with the New England Aquarium," says Paul Browning, President & CEO of Irving Oil. "The New England Aquarium’s annual program has shown that right whale numbers have increased from 320 to over 500, and since our partnership began seventeen years ago, there hasn’t been a recorded ship-whale collision in the Bay of Fundy shipping lanes. We believe this partnership model is a great example of how industry and conservation interests can be both collaborative and pragmatic by effecting real change within our environment.”

In 2003, Irving Oil worked collaboratively with academics, professional mariners, environmental groups, the Canadian government, and the International Maritime Organization to reroute shipping lanes away from a significant right whale feeding ground and nursery habitat area. This marked the first time in maritime history that shipping lanes were altered to protect an endangered species; the changes reduced the risk of ship-whale collisions in the traffic lanes by ninety percent.

About Irving Oil

Irving Oil is a privately-owned, increasingly global energy and marketing company that provides Eastern Canada and New England with high-quality products and customer service. Founded in 1924 and based in Saint John, New Brunswick, Irving Oil maintains a strong tradition of committed community service and partnerships through programs in healthcare, the environment, education and sports. For more information about Irving Oil and its community programs, please visit us at www.irvingoil.com or follow us at facebook.com/irvingoil

Media Contact:

Sam Robinson
Irving Oil
[email protected]