asks judge to stop rescue of Right Whale
BOSTON - An
environmental activist went to U.S. federal court yesterday to halt a delicate
operation on a North Atlantic right whale entangled in fishing line.
Richard (Max) Strahan said in his suit against the Center
for Coastal Studies and the National Marine Fisheries Service the agencies will
violate the U.S. Endangered Species Act and probably kill the whale if they
sedate it as planned and attempt to remove a synthetic rope deeply embedded in
its upper jaw and mouth.
As of 6 p.m. ADT yesterday,
judge George O'Toole had not ruled on whether to schedule a hearing on the
suit, judge O'Toole's secretary said.
Mr. Strahan called
the at-sea rescue operation "whale fraud."
going to go rip this thing off its head and kill it in the process. They're
incompetent," Mr. Strahan said.
But if the rope isn't
removed, the bull whale likely will die, said the Center for Coastal Studies
and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
him in court, if it comes to that," said Teri Frady, a fisheries service
"I think everyone here is really focused on
what we can do for this really injured animal out in the ocean.
The procedure to remove the rope, said to be the first
of its kind, was called off yesterday because of bad weather and has not been
rescheduled, Ms. Frady said.
Ms. Frady said "the best
people we can find ... in this country have gathered here at public and private
expense to improve the situation for this whale. "
one is going off half prepared. If it can be done, this group can do it," she
A spokeswoman for the Center for Coastal Studies did
not immediately return a call.
The whale, first
discovered in trouble June 8 and thought to be headed for the Bay of Fundy, is
about 160 kilometres east of Cape Cod, Mass. Experts said rescuers can't move
close enough to free the whale if it isn't sedated.
North Atlantic right whale population is down to about 300 and this one is
reproductively active, justifying extraordinary and risky rescue efforts,
officials said last week.
entangled right whale set for today
BOSTON - A team of marine scientists plans to begin the rescue today of an
endangered whale entangled in fishing line.
North Atlantic right whale, thought to be headed for the Bay of Fundy, was
spotted on June 8 about 130 kilometres east of Cape Cod with the line embedded,
in its upper jaw. Scientists say the line is causing an infection that will
eventually kill the whale, one of only about 300 left in the world.
The team plans to, photograph the whale and assess its
condition, then return tomorrow, sedate it if necessary and try to loosen the
1.5 centimetre-thick plastic line.
The weather for today
and tomorrow appeared optimal for the delicate rescue, said National Marine
Fisheries Service spokeswoman Teri Frady.
"It's the best
weather we've seen since we spotted the entanglement," Ms. Frady said
yesterday. "We've had pretty much bad visibility and choppy seas since then.
We'll have much better conditions for [Monday] and, it appears, even better
conditions for Tuesday."
The Center for Coastal Studies,
based in Provincetown, and the fisheries service are planning the rescue. If
the whale needs to be sedated, the team is considering putting a harness around
it so it doesn't lash out, and cutting off trailing portions of the line so
that it is more likely to fall out.
Rescuers also plan
to make sure a satellite buoy is still attached so the whale can be located
Scientists are concerned that if the rescue is not
completed soon, the whale may move out of the team's range and eventually
On Friday, a federal judge denied an environmental
activist's request to stop the rescue. The environmentalist claimed the
sedation would kill the whale.