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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.

Right whale nears Canada

Boston Associated Press
July 18/2001

   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.

Entangled right 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
Canadian Press
July 25/2001

    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.
   Officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said the mammal, an endangered North Atlantic right whale, was staying about 130 kilometres off Chebucto Head, near Halifax.
    "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.
   Mr. Conway 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.
   The 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. Conway.
   American veterinarians had tried several times to remove the line that's wrapped around its head and embedded in a deeply infected wound.
    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.
    The team 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 harness.
    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.

Whale watching growth bodes well for conservation

Canadian Press
July 30/2001

    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 study.
   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.
    Latest figures 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 in 1998.
   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 environment."
   Wendie Schneider, who helps operate Grand Manan Sea-Land Adventures Ltd. in New Brunswick, said she is surprised by the industry figures.
   "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 industry.
    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 said.
   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 said.
    "The basis of the whale watching industry is the conservation of the whales," said Mr. Smith.
    "Quite simply, more dead whales means less live whales to watch."

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