Right Whale – Wrong Data

photo Burt Dow, Deep-water ManPlease tap on photos and read the captions.

This graph mistake turns this whole whale lobster debate on it’s head. They gauged their whole extinction claim on a population number that they figured from a birthrate curve overlaid on a population graph so naturally it looks like tons of whales are suddenly dying when the birthrate went down starting in 2010, one year after the record calving of 39 baby whales. 20 whales born in 2010, plus 7 more, attributed to their downward tracking line meant 27 whales died. Oddly nobody noticed this ridiculous mathematical blunder and for ten years they have been charging around wondering who was killing all these whales. They are about to make the claim that 2.8 times the recorded deaths are attributed to fishing entanglements. Deeper and deeper the stupidity goes based on reading a birth rate graph with birth population numbers set on the x axis.

The whales are doing great. The Canadian disaster is over and we are saving 8 whales per year. The population according to the numbers has been going up not down and the TRT needs to take the number of reasonable accidents back up to at least 3 per year where it has been for decades. Roughly 2 ship to 1 entanglement. It makes no sense to charge around after one entanglement death. And the whales were multiplying just fine despite the entanglements. It is too much to ask the lobstermen to paint rope so we can point the finger at an accident that means very little.

We need to back off and realize the Canadian disaster and the unusual birthrate are a thing of the past. We should be rejoicing, not worrying about extinction. The baby boom females are creating another boom right now. The birthrate is going up sharply. Leave it so. Keep the status quo. Stop forcing the lobstermen to be painting rope every year. Weak links are not needed. The death toll from lobstermen has never been a big deal. Like 0 For Maine lobstermen and ¼ per year for Mass. There were several documented Canadian crab entanglements down south of Cape Cod that made the lobstermen look bad, but Canadian spot closures have solved that problem.

Please tap on photos to enlarge.

Photo credit Robert McCloskey: Burt Dow: Deepwater-Man

For a closer look at the data please open and read this longer version.

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Jim O’Connell

Bar Harbor, Maine