Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snooping around Georgia for whales

I'm on holiday this week in the state of Georgia, USA. The North Atlantic Right whales that summer in the Bay of Fundy spend their winters here too. In fact, the only known calving grounds for Right whales is about 15 miles (24 km) off the coasts of Georgia and Florida. Later, in early Spring, they'll head up to the coast of Maine, then on to the Bay of Fundy for summer and fall feeding before coming back to Georgia.

In the United States several laws have been passed and regulations adopted to reduce threats to Right whales. Measures in effect for Georgia include designation of the coastal waters south of the Altamaha River and out to fifteen miles as a "critical habitat" for the species, ship reporting requirements, restrictions on the use of gill nets, and prohibitions on recreational right-whale watching.

The Georgians appear to appreciate our shared Right whales, having declared them as their official 'state mammal'....I'm not sure why we haven't done the same in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia....good idea!

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