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Scientists plan busy summer researching whales in bay

Telegraph-Journal
April 22/02

    When most of the world's 300 remaining North Atlantic right whales gather this summer off Grand Manan island, they'll be joined by a herd of scientists from Canada and the U.S. united in an effort to save the endangered animal.
   Dr. Rob Stephenson of the St. Andrews Biological Station said teams of scientists from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the eastern U.S. have already met in St. Andrews to discuss projects, co-ordinate efforts and ensure their work doesn't disrupt the right whales that migrate to the bay this year.
   "There is a lot of really exciting research effort going on in the bay," Dr. Stephenson said. "It's a very interesting place for research to take place. It's a herd out there in a conservation zone off Grand Manan."
   The whales winter off the coast of the southern U.S. and migrate into the Bay of Fundy in the summer to feed on plankton.
   In addition to researchers who have been coming to the Bay of Fundy for years, the Biological Station is increasing its own research efforts with a new biologist and research scientist on staff to deal with species at risk. They will focus on right whales as well as species that are candidates for an endangered listing, such as cod.
   Some of the research taking place this summer will include surveying the right whale populations and learning more about their behaviour and movement.
   "We're trying to document when they arrive and when they depart the Bay of Fundy. It's known to be a summer nursery area or feeding area but we don't know the duration of their stay exactly,'' Dr. Stephenson said.
   That information is vital to the survival of . the species. Knowing' where the whales are and when could reduce or eliminate the main causes of death - ship strikes and entanglements in fishing gear.

Whale hunt season set to begin

Telegraph-Journal
April 24/02

   VANCOUVER - Inuit are quietly getting ready for their own whale hunt in Canada's north.
   Inuit in the eastern and western Arctic hunt about a thousand small whales annually, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
   The Inuvialuit and Nunavut people hunt about 300 to 400 narwhal and hundreds of Beluga.
   Six endangered bowhead whales have been hunted since 1996 with permits from the Fisheries Department.
   "It's one of the traditional things that after 70, 80 years of being banned from harvesting, it's nice to get back to the system where a harvest our great-grandparents used to do," said Ben Kovic, of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board.

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