Below are just some of the articles published on
the recent efforts to save a right whales tangled with fishing gear. We will
continue to post these articles as the become available.
Boston Associated Press
An endangered right whale
fighting a lifethreatening infection from a fishing line was nearing Canadian
waters yesterday, officials said, but they expect rescue efforts to continue.
The whale, ,named "Churchill," was about 210 kilometres east of Cape Cod and
220 kilometres south of Yarmouth, N.S., near the so called Hague line that
divides U.S. and Canadian waters. National Marine Fisheries Service spokeswoman
Teri Frady said she expects there will be another rescue attempt, though with
Canadians taking the lead. Churchill is probably headed for the Bay of Fundy or
Roseway, on the southeastern coast of Nova Scotia, she said.
whale off coast of Nova Scotia
THIRD TIME'S THE
CHARM? An official with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the next
attempt to rescue it could come Sunday or Monday.
by Alison Auld
HALIFAX - A rare whale, snared
in a piece of rope and struggling to survive, appeared to be settling off the
coast of Nova Scotia yesterday, giving marine scientists an opportunity to go
out to try to disentangle the creature.
the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the mammal, an endangered North
Atlantic right whale, was staying about 130 kilometres off Chebucto Head, near
"Right now we're putting together a plan to go
out and address it," said Jerry Conway with the department in Halifax.
"Certainly, it's staying very close to the Emerald Bank
area. It's going backwards and forwards, so we think it's foraging. "
The whale, a male that was first seen off Cape Cod,
Mass., on June 8, appeared to be feeding on the Emerald Bank, said Mr. Conway,
who is monitoring its movements by way of a buoy attached to its back.
The whale's movements 'have surprised an international
community of scientists and whale experts who are closely watching its progress
and the unique procedures a team plans on using to disentangle it.
Many didn't think it would survive the journey into
Canadian waters that right whales make every year in search of food.
"The initial reports said if something wasn't done in the
next couple of weeks, the animal wouldn't survive," he said. "Here we are seven
weeks later and like the Energizer bunny, it's still ticking.
Mr. Conway said he was trying to find large vessels
that could make the trip that far offshore and accommodate a team of Canadian
and American veterinarians and scientists that plans to spend a couple of days
at sea trying to rescue the ailing animal.
said the attempt could take place Sunday or Monday, when the weather is
expected to clear up.
He was arranging to have a plane fly
over the area yesterday to get a look at the whale, known as Number 1102 or
Churchill, and one of only 300 left in the world.
condition of the whale has worsened considerably since it was discovered at the
beginning of last month. Its skin, normally a glossy black, has turned a cloudy
white and pieces of it are sloughing off, said Mr.
American veterinarians had tried several times to
remove the line that's wrapped around its head and embedded in a deeply
They plan to continue their attempts
with the help of the Canadian Coast Guard and the Fisheries Department, which
will provide equipment, expertise and vessels.
is hoping to again attempt a complicated and untried procedure that involves
injecting a sedative and affixing a harness to the 50-tonne mammal so that the
rope can be cut away from its mouth.
The team was unable
to administer the right amount of sedative and had problems with the gear in
two previous attempts.
U.S. officials have said this
could be the last attempt to remove the rope since the procedure can be
distressing for the whale, which lashed out when the team tried to attach the
The whale, which has captivated people's
attention in Europe, the States and Canada, was last seen in the Bay of Fundy
in 1998 and did not have any rope on it then.
growth bodes well for conservation
An explosive growth in whale
watching across the country is making the protection of the great leviathans
good business sense for coastal regions in Canada, says a new international
Whale Watching 2001, a special report written by
Canadian Eric Hoyt for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, says the
business of ferrying tourists to watch the gigantic mammals has turned into an
estimated $294-million industry in Canada.
indicate the industry in Canada has grown from 185,000 visitors spending
$44-million in 1991 to more than one million whale watchers pumping about
$287million annually into local economies.
In the Bay of
Fundy alone, 57 tour boat operators welcomed 140,000 whale watchers, who spent
$5.3million in direct costs and more than $38-million in total tourism dollars
Worldwide, whale watching has become a
billion-dollar industry, attracting more than nine million participants a year
in 87 countries and territories.
The report's findings
speak to strengthening arguments for whale conservation and ethical whale
watching guidelines, says Rick Smith, Canadian director of the International
Fund for Animal Welfare.
"It's very clear now that whales
are worth a lot more alive than they are dead," Mr. Smith said during a phone.
interview from England, following last week's International Whaling Commission
meetings in London.
"I think the size of the industry
has really snuck up on people."
In the report released
this month, Mr. Hoyt states that "outstanding potential" exists in both New
Brunswick and Nova Scotia for developing whale tours and continuing to enhance
their value without necessarily increasing their numbers.
"In many places, whale watching provides valuable,
sometimes crucial income to a community, with the creation of new jobs and
businesses," he said.
"It helps foster an appreciation of
the importance of marine conservation, and provides a ready platform for
researchers wanting to study cetaceans or the marine
Wendie Schneider, who helps operate Grand
Manan Sea-Land Adventures Ltd. in New Brunswick, said she is surprised by the
"Certainly an industry has developed
around [whales], which is geared towards them remaining alive, unlike the
whaling industry of the past," she said.
"The whales are
spending more time in the Bay of Fundy, so that may entice more people to get
into the business. "
Part of a recently formed Bay of
Fundy whale watching operators' association, Schneider said the group hopes to
address the fine balance between environmental and economical issues in their
Already, members have adopted a Bay of Fundy
code of ethics.
That type of regional approach must be
embraced nationally in a country where outdated fisheries laws currently
provide no legal distinction between a blue whale, which is the largest animal
to have ever lived on the earth, and a herring, Mr. Smith
Once a founding member of the International Whaling
Commission, Canada last week acted only as an observer of discussions revolving
around the very whales swimming 'in the Bay of Fundy this summer, he
"The basis of the whale watching industry is the
conservation of the whales," said Mr. Smith.
simply, more dead whales means less live whales to watch."