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.
Rescuers try to
free minke whale from weir
Summit News Service
CAMPOBELLO - Whale rescue
workers were attempting late yesterday to free a minke whale from a herring
weir off Campobello Island.
Andrew Westgate, a research
biologist from the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station, said it's
not unusual for whales to swim into the large, open-mouthed traps used to
"It typically happens maybe two times a
summer" off southwestern New Brunswick, he said. The whales swim into the weirs
in search of herring then become confused and can't find their way
"Whales don't typically like to swim between things
and they don't like to swim through narrow spaces," Mr. Westgate said.
The rescue workers were attempting to sweep the minke
whale out of the weir.
"We have a special mammal seine
that we use to rescue harbour porpoises from herring weirs," Mr. Westgate said.
"We're going to use that seine. It's like a giant sweep. We're going to sweep
it out of the weir. "
About 150 harbour porpoises have
been freed this summer using the same technique.
minke is one of the smallest whales found off the coast of New
They usually measure nine metres in length and
weigh up to 14 tonnes. The worldwide population is about 900,000.
ships proposed to protect whales
BOSTON - A new federal report
in the United States recommends that Ships using East Coast ports slow down and
be restricted to certain routes to help protect the endangered North Atlantic
Some aspects of the report are, already
meeting opposition from the U.S. navy and from the shipping industry, including
a shipping company offlcial who assisted on the report. The draft report
released Thursday recommends directing ships around whales, slowing down ships
in whale habitats, and establishing mandatory shipping lanes to reduce the
chances a whale will be hit.
The proposals also require
millions of dollars in research funding and approval by national and
international governing bodies. The National Marine Fisheries Service will
review the final report when it's submitted in September.
The report by the ship strike committee of the National
Marine Fisheries Service took 18 months to complete.
"It's a good first step," said Bill Eldridge of the Boston based shipping
company Peabody and Lane, who assisted on the report. ,It,s just beginning.
It's nowhere near the end."
Ship strikes are thought to
be responsible for about half of all North Atlantic right whale deaths caused
by man, with fishing gear entanglements accounting for the
About 18 whales have been killed by ship
strikes in the last 20 years, including two this
There are about 300 North Atlantic right whales left
in the world.
"The agency is convinced something has to
done," said Chris Mantzaris, the deputy administrator of the fisheries service,
One recommendation calls for buffer
zones of up to 24 kilometres around areas where right whales are spotted. Ships
would be required to avoid those areas.
shipping lanes through the Great South Channel off Cape Cod and calving grounds
off the coast of Florida and Georgia are also
Mr. Eldridge said shippers are concerned
about crowding those lanes, but said it's a workable solution. Shippers are
more likely to oppose a recommended 10-knot speed limit - about 18 kilometres
an hour in areas when whales are nearby because there is no science supporting
the 10 knot limit, he said.
He said slowing down hurts
shippers in an industry where punctuality is important and also violates
protocols that give captains control of their vessels.
Report author Bruce Russell, a retired coast guard commander, calculated
worstcase delays of an hour under the 10-knot limit.
hoping the industry will feel this is something we can try," said Kyla Bennett
of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said.