A report out this week in Current Biology reveal that critically endangered North Atlantic right whales are up to three feet shorter than 40 years ago. This startling conclusion reinforces what scientists have suspected: even when entanglements do not lead directly to the death of North Atlantic right whales, they can have lasting effects on the imperiled population that may now number less than 400 animals. Further, females that are entangled while nursing produce smaller calves.Read More
Most of the 360 or so North Atlantic right whales alive today bear scars from entanglements in fishing gear and collisions with speeding ships and, according to new study, they are much smaller than they should be. According to the authors of the new study, the best way to ensure the continued survival of the species is to pressure fishery managers in the United States and Canada to significantly reduce the amount of rope-based fishing gear and implement ship speed limits in the North Atlantic. “We all consume goods moved by the sea, and many eat lobsters,” said Michael Moore, a senior scientist with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and co-author of the study. “If we all were to demand these management changes of our elected officials the situation would change drastically.”
Researchers spotted the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales on a recent trip to Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts.
One of the few things rarer than North Atlantic right whales? Capturing a whale ‘hug’ on video. Scientists have done that for what might have been the first time from the air.
Fishermen, engineers, and scientists are working together to test and develop fishing gear that has no buoy lines in the water column to save the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. There are less than 400 North Atlantic Right Whales left in the world and many right whale deaths can be attributed to entanglement.Read More
During a joint research trip on February 28 in Cape Cod Bay, Mass., WHOI whale trauma specialist Michael Moore, National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry, and scientists from New England Aquarium, witnessed a remarkable biological event: North Atlantic right whales in a surface active group, also known as a SAG.Read More
Also, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s Slocum underwater glider on Sunday acoustically detected the presence of North Atlantic right whales north of Cape Cod and NOAA Fisheries on Monday instituted a voluntary right whale slow zone north of Cape Cod until May 17.
“Right whales are beautifully equipped for drone work in terms of identification,” he said. “They wear their identity on their heads in the form of callosities,” which are massive calluses that are unique to each individual whale. “So every time we take a photograph, we know who it is.”
The whales are nearing the end of a three-month period during which nearly half the population of approximately 360 can be spotted in Cape Cod Bay.
Virtual buoys and time triggered traps reduce risk to endangered North Atlantic right whale, but reactions among fishers in US and Canada are mixed.
The technology is a miniaturized version of a system originally designed to protect whales from underwater noises.
“North Atlantic right whales face a serious risk of extinction, but there is hope if we can work together on solutions. Trauma reduction measures and applying new tools to assess their health are critically important to enhance the welfare of individual whales. If we can reduce the number of deaths, and successfully improve their health (and increase their) reproduction, the current decline in population can be reversed,” says lead study author Michael Moore, a whale trauma specialist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
North Atlantic right whales are critically endangered and declining. Climate change, vessel strikes, entanglements and noise engender poor health and reproductive failure, and are major threats to individuals and the species. Trauma reduction measures and applying new tools to assess and enhance their health, are critically important.Read More
The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered whales in the world, with an estimated 366 left on the planet. These animals are often found on the Continental Shelf of the East Coast of North America, making them vulnerable to human activities including fishing gear entanglements. In recent years, more whales have died than have been born. Join us as we examine the top threats facing North Atlantic right whales, and discuss the crucial efforts by the scientific community, fishing industry, and policymakers to develop the most effective and viable solutions to ensure the long-term survival of this critically endangered species.Read More
The next WHOI Ocean Encounters virtual series will be held on Wednesday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. This event is…Read More
The whales are North Atlantic right whales, which number only about 360 in the world.
Scientist hopes his smart system can reduce ship collisions with North Atlantic right whales. A new technology on the horizon may help to reduce one of those threats, however.
Moving to ropeless fishing would have “a far more lasting impact in reducing mortality, and equally importantly, the health and hence reproductive success of live animals,” said Michael Moore, director of the Marine Mammal Center at WHOI.
As the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales begin their southward migration from New England and Canada toward the coast of Florida, including Volusia and Flagler counties, researchers are marking the beginning of calving season with uncertainty and urgency.