busy summer researching whales in bay
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.
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
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.
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.
season set to begin
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
The Inuvialuit and Nunavut people hunt about 300
to 400 narwhal and hundreds of Beluga.
bowhead whales have been hunted since 1996 with permits from the Fisheries
"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.