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Lawmakers eye grants to fund innovation to save right whales

February 18, 2022 GMT
FILE - A North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass., March 28, 2018. Lawmakers from Massachusetts and New Jersey want to set up a new grant program to help develop technology that assists in saving this rare species of whale from extinction. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
FILE - A North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass., March 28, 2018. Lawmakers from Massachusetts and New Jersey want to set up a new grant program to help develop technology that assists in saving this rare species of whale from extinction. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
FILE - A North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass., March 28, 2018. Lawmakers from Massachusetts and New Jersey want to set up a new grant program to help develop technology that assists in saving this rare species of whale from extinction. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
FILE - A North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass., March 28, 2018. Lawmakers from Massachusetts and New Jersey want to set up a new grant program to help develop technology that assists in saving this rare species of whale from extinction. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
FILE - A North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass., March 28, 2018. Lawmakers from Massachusetts and New Jersey want to set up a new grant program to help develop technology that assists in saving this rare species of whale from extinction. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

BOSTON (AP) — Lawmakers from Massachusetts and New Jersey want to set up a new grant program to help develop technology that assists in saving a rare species of whale from extinction.

The North Atlantic right whale numbers less than 340 and faces threats from collisions with large ships and entanglement in fishing gear. They are the subject of numerous new fishing rules designed to improve their chances of survival.

Democrats Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey say the Right Whale Coexistence Act of 2022 would authorize $15 million annually for a decade to fund projects that reduce the impact of human activities on the whales.

The proposal states that the grants would be open to entities such as state and tribal agencies, research institutions, nonprofit groups, vessel owners and members of maritime industries.

The new grant fund represents “a major opportunity for the federal government to accelerate research on solutions to slow” the loss of the whales, said Jane Davenport, senior attorney at Defenders of Wildlife.