Thursday, January 11, 2007

New year's wish #2 - Bay of Fundy whale wish

Further to my 2nd Bay of Fundy New Year's wish that none of our whales get injured or killed by shipping this year...

As evidenced by my previous posts, Fundy's whales are never far from my mind. Therefore, you can imagine how I felt when I heard on December 30th that a two-year old male Right whale had been discovered dead off othe coast of Georgia (winter feeding grounds). Struck by a ship.

This sad photo shows researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of Massachusetts performed a autopsy on the whale.

2006 proved to be an exceptionally bad year for what might be the world’s most endangered large whale as six of these giant creatures that migrate up and down the East Coast were found dead. Five of the deaths were the direct result of human caused interactions including four deaths due to ship strikes and one from a fishing gear entanglement.

With less than 400 North Atlantic right whales on the planet, scientific studies have shown that the precarious population cannot withstand this level of human caused mortality. In addition to Canadian efforts, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service in the U.S. has been in the process of proposed rulemaking to better protect right whales from both shipping and fishing impacts for several years.

This type of measure (though not perfect) was implemented successfully in 2004 in here in the Bay of Fundy, which is the principal late summer feeding ground for many right whales. A similar proposal is in the works to move the shipping lanes going into Boston, which has America’s only whale feeding marine sanctuary, just 25 miles east of its port.

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