Tag Archives: ship strikes

Gulf of Maine: Whale scientists fire back – Marine biologists disagree with a judge’s decision

Lobster industry professionals, elected officials and now a federal judge have expressed doubts as to whether the National Marine Fisheries Service used the best available science in imposing the closure, and whether the whales even frequent the area. They all argue that the statistical modeling used by federal regulators leaves much to be desired. Sean Todd, a marine biologist and director of Allied Whale, a marine mammal research group located at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, disagrees with both the decision to block the closure and the claim that there are insufficient data to justify it. >click to read< 09:27

Opinion: Federal rules are sinking Maine’s lobster industry

As a lifelong Maine lobsterman, I understand the inherent dangers of my job. I keep watch on the forecast knowing that sudden weather changes can make the difference between a successful day at work and putting my crew’s life at risk. These days, however, the hazard posed by Mother Nature does not compare with the perfect storm of regulations coming out of Washington that threaten my job, our way of life and may eventually sink a fishery that has supported communities and generations of families here in Maine. By Kristan Porter >click to read< 15:18

Tanker/Whale Strike Update: ENGO says number of whales killed by ships each year in the 1000s

We posted a story about a 32-foot whale carcass was found wedged on the bow of a Japanese tanker as it pulled into harbour. Shocking images, wasn’t much there. The article today has information that is useful to commercial fishermen trying to survive the ridiculous, engo inspired rules regarding fishery restrictions, and rule changes. Ship strikes are known to be one of the leading causes of death for endangered and vulnerable whale populations, according to WWF. Michael Fishbach, executive director and co-founder of the Great Whale Conservancy, an environmental NGO based in North Carolina, told Insider that a dozen whales are killed by a ship for each one that is recorded. >click to read< 10:46

Lobster industry is anxious over upcoming North Atlantic right whale protection rules

The federal government is working on new rules designed to reduce risk to North Atlantic right whales,,, One of the threats the whales face is entanglement in ropes that connect to lobster and crab traps in the ocean. Early indications show that the changes required by the rules could be significant. They’re also vulnerable to ship strikes, and face the looming threat of warming oceans. Acting NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Paul Doremus said in June that the U.S. and Canada, which also harvests lobsters, must “take and sustain additional efforts to reduce right whale mortalities and serious injuries.” >click to read< 10:39

Lobster industry changes require more evidence on North Atlantic right whale deaths

Environmentalists and the lobster industry have rarely agreed on anything related to the effort to save the North Atlantic right whale. So when they do, people should pay attention. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now taking comment on its Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, aimed at reducing risk of rope entanglements and ship strikes to the endangered mammal by at least 60%. But members of both sides say no one has enough information to say that the sweeping changes would be effective. Our comment? Don’t pass a plan that puts the deaths of right whales on the backs of Maine lobstermen unless you can show that’s where it should be. >click to read< 08:14

Evidence shows Maine lobster gear has not contributed to decline in Right whale population

In today’s world, it is hard to discern truth from opinion, or fact from calculated lies.,, The fact is also that no documented right whale death has ever been attributed to Maine lobstermen. There has only been one known entanglement in the past 20 years (2012). That whale was disentangled and set free.,,, The combination of ship strikes and snow crab gear entanglement was catastrophic, but had nothing to do with Maine lobster gear. The “guilt by association” assumption by environmental groups and NOAA/NMFS is unwarranted and unacceptable. By Jack Merrill. >click to read< 07:55

Enviros sue for North Atlantic Right Whale protections from ship strikes

Four conservation groups filed an injunction in a Washington, D.C., court last week asking the National Marine Fisheries Service to expand its efforts to protect right whales and their calves from being hit by ships. Although entanglement in fishing lines gets a lot of headlines, ship strikes have emerged as a prime killer of the right whales, whose numbers have dropped from a peak of 481 in 2011 to 356 this year. Eleven calves, including two that were spotted Wednesday off Amelia Island, Florida, so far this calving season are not accounted for in that estimate. >click to read< 09:50

From the sea floor to the courtroom, the fight to save right whales

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered species on the planet. Scientists announced last month that there are only about 360 of the animals left, down roughly 50 from the previous year’s survey. They live along the East Coast, from northern Florida to Canada, where the 50-foot-long, 140,000-pound leviathans must navigate through millions of commercial fishing lines primarily, lobster traps, and one of the world’s most crowded shipping channels. Too often they become tangled in those lines, or are struck by a ship, (Ships, A LOT of ships). The fight to save them, led by biologists and conservation groups, has grown urgent — in the water and in the courts. >click to read< 11:28

Whale ‘roadkill’ is on the rise off California. A new detection system could help.

That so many whales of various species now traverse the California coast is a remarkable comeback tale.,, Today, blue whales and other endangered species, like fin and humpbacks, are recovering, but slowly. But while industrial whaling stopped in the late 1960s (some countries like Japan and Norway do continue commercial whaling on a small scale), these mammals are still frequently killed in collisions with large ships. Most container ships today delivering goods across the ocean are so large that even a collision with a 50-ton whale can go undetected. Ship strikes remain a leading cause of death to whales around the globe, and in some places, like California, they are on the rise. >click to read< 17:46

The Judge has ruled! NMFS must list the North Atlantic Right Whale entanglement facts on paper. Case Closed!

Judge Boasberg has ruled! A new accurate ESA  analysis has been ordered by next June. The National Marine Fisheries Service just needs to put the lobster entanglement facts on paper and it’s “Case Closed” Not only was there an unusual mortality event in the Gulf of St Lawrence.  The Right Whales stopped reproducing. Basically the whales moved up into the South West Gulf of Saint Lawrence in 2015 and took the crab fishermen by surprise and also they set up feeding on copious copepods at the mouth of the St Lawrence River where the Spring flood of nutrients kicks off phytoplankton blooms. Unfortunately this is directly under a shipping lane used solely by cruise ships who traveled at night starting at the end of April.,, by Jim O’Connell, >click to read< 20:26

Whale info way off, by Maine Lobsterman Leonard Young

Reading Bill McWeeny’s July 23 commentary bothered me a great deal. His statement that right whales have never been so close to extinction since they were hunted is untrue. I’ve been a lobsterman for almost 50 years, and we’ve been dealing with the whale issue for almost two decades. When we started this process, we were told there were 200 of these animals. Mr. McWeeny decided to omit the fact that we had modified our gear many years ago with sinking ground lines, breakaways in our end lines and more traps on end lines to decrease end lines. Since we did this, entanglements decreased considerably. These animals had increased to almost 500. Then they changed their feeding ground,, by Maine Lobsterman Leonard Young, Corea >click to read< 11:20

Report: 4 of 5 Gulf of St. Lawrence area right whale deaths investigated last year were caused by ship strikes

The report, compiled by the Marine Animal Response Society and Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, says vessel strikes caused four out of the five whale deaths investigated last year. A total of nine right whales were found dead in and around the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2019. The report released Wednesday focused on the necropsy results for five right whales, all found dead between June and July 2019. It found vessel strikes caused the death of four of them, but the necropsy investigation could not determine the cause of death of the fifth. >click to read< 14:42

North Atlantic Right Whale: How to kill a species with Fake News, from National Geographic of all places!

“Fishing without vertical lines is what is going to save this species.“ says CT Harry of the IFAW who work hand in hand with NOAA. A ridiculous statement in view of the 18 cruise ship strikes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (GSL) in the past few years, in all of NE over 20 years. ¼ whale per year by the lobster industry. Eighteen ship strikes in the GSL over the past 3 years averages 6 per year. These people are killing 24 whales while those people kill one. by Jim O’Connell  >click to read< 13:22

Most likely Carnival Cruise Lines is responsible for 18+ Right Whale deaths in the past 3 year, at which rate they would soon be extinct. – Human caused Right whale deaths have suddenly, in sync with a plummeting whale birthrate, put the right whale on the path to extinction. Why their birth rate, births per year, declined since a tremendous surge in 2000-2009 from 350 to 500 is unknown. In 2018 it hit bottom as no calves were born.  >click to read<

‘Ship Strikes’ Killing Whales! A voluntary slow-down program for passing ships is frequently ignored

According to NOAA, these “ship strikes” are blamed for at least 88 whale deaths in California. Since 2006, 239 whales were killed in all U.S. waters over the same time period. Of those whales killed, nearly one in three was a member of an endangered species. Scientists, however, believe the true number of deaths is far higher than the official counts. “The majority of reported ship strikes probably represents a tenth or less of the true number occurring,” said Calambokidis. “The majority of whales that die, in fact, sink and disappear and are never documented.” Check the chart that says how many estimated by NOAA! >click to read< 14:16

The Risk of Ship Strikes: Maine Congressional Delegation Ask Feds To Shift Focus Of Right Whale Protections

In a letter to top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this week, the delegation calls on the agency to provide more information about reducing the risk of ship strikes off the United States and Canada – strikes that they say are as much a threat to the whales’ survival as entanglement with lobster fishing gear. >click to read< 10:13

  Most likely Carnival Cruise Lines is responsible for 18+ Right Whale deaths in the past 3 year, at which rate they would soon be extinct>click to read<

Researchers, marine pilots work to prevent vessel strikes from killing Alaska whales

Over the past decade, federal officials have logged 77 incidents of vessels hitting whales in Alaska waters. About three-quarters of those, were endangered humpbacks. But, it’s not clear why those strikes keep happening. A group of federal researchers and marine pilots have teamed up to combine what scientists know about whale behavior with what marine pilots know about ships.,,, That’s important as NOAA has logged 182 whale strikes in U.S. waters over the last decade. But that’s an undercount: ships aren’t legally required to report when they hit whale. And sometimes they don’t even know it’s happened. >click to read< 12:18

Most likely Carnival Cruise Lines is responsible for 18+ Right Whale deaths in the past 3 year, at which rate they would soon be extinct.

Human caused Right whale deaths have suddenly, in sync with a plummeting whale birthrate, put the right whale on the path to extinction.,,, There is the simple answer, to halt the march towards extinction. There is an easy way to prevent those 18 deaths and at least bring that -18 up to 0. We can stop the majority of the anthropogenic Whale deaths with a simple Cruise Ship lane modification between PEI and the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula. Prior to 2007 ships were almost solely responsible for Right whale deaths, but since 2008 fishing line entanglement deaths have increased and fishermen have become the main target. However data from the past 3 years indicate many more ship strike deaths than entanglement deaths. >click to read< 12:41

‘Find some good solutions’: governments, experts, fishermen prepare for 2020 right whale regulations

An annual roundtable meeting held by officials with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has wrapped up after discussing how to deal with the declining North Atlantic right whale population. The subject has become controversial after at least nine confirmed deaths in 2019, with several preliminary findings indicating vessel strikes were the cause. Some of the deaths came despite the Canadian government cracking down tighter on fisheries closures and speed restrictions, but the impact on the fishing industry is part of what makes regulations such a controversial topic. >click to read<  08:43

Whale Deaths and Ship Strikes: The casualty of a global problem

A humpback whale was recently spotted in the River Thames near London. This unusual sighting sparked national media interest, similar to “Benny” the beluga who also called the river home for several weeks last year. However, while Benny eventually left the Thames and headed home to the Arctic, the humpback whale was not so lucky. Ironically, despite the human-interest factor, the whale died as a result of human impact. In doing so, it had the dubious honor of being the first humpback whale known to have died in UK waters from being hit by a vessel. >click to read< 08:41

Lobstermen, environmentalists weigh in on right whale rules

Some of the largest and most powerful animal and environmental groups – including the Pew Charitable Trust, the U.S. Humane Society, the Conservation Law Foundation and Oceana – sent representatives to the hearing. They urged National Marine Fisheries Service to take immediate action to protect the whale, including proposals that even the team tasked by the fisheries service to come up with its whale protection plan had dismissed, such as offshore closures and ropeless lobster fishing. >click to read< 20:58

How Ship Strikes Have Become The Greatest Threat To Right Whales

This is the first of a two-part report explaining how vessel strikes happen, why they’re increasing and what’s being done to stop them. In the last month, eight North Atlantic right whales have been found dead in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence, including two members of the critically endangered species this past week. Canadian authorities say work to determine these new whales’ cause of death is ongoing. Whatever the cause of these latest deaths, researchers worry collisions with ships are increasingly to blame. >click to read<  20:24

International shipping industry under increased scrutiny as whale death toll grows

The shipping industry is under increased scrutiny after two cargo ships were fined for sailing too fast through the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where the rising death toll among endangered North Atlantic right whales has been partly blamed on collisions with vessels. There have been eight deaths reported since early June, and examinations of five of the carcasses showed three of them had injuries consistent with ship strikes, a leading cause of death for these rare mammals. 227 vessels exceeded speed limit in 3 months >click to read< 11:23

New rules are meant to save whales; lobstermen wonder if they’ll survive

The state Department of Marine Resources has until September to come up with a way that it can cut the number of buoy lines in the Gulf of Maine by 50 percent. Federal regulators say that’s what it will take to reduce the risk of fatal entanglement enough for the species to survive. Scientists estimate only 411 right whales remain. The species has been on the brink of extinction before, most recently in 1992, when its population bottomed out at 295. It rebounded to about 500 in 2010, but low calving rates, ship strikes and fishing line entanglements have sent its numbers tumbling, yet again. But many in Maine’s $485 million industry worry it is the lobsterman who will face extinction,,, >click to read<10:28

Whales are facing a deadly threat along West Coast: container ships

One day last May, a container ship entered the San Francisco Bay with extra cargo. A 45-foot-long dead female fin whale was draped across the ship’s bow. The impact with the ship had broken her back, ruptured her organs and caused severe internal bleeding. Ten whale deaths were attributed to ship strikes in 2018 – the highest number on record in California since NOAA Fisheries began tracking in 1982. The mortality rate represents an enormous increase from the average 3.4 ship strike victims recorded annually in the five previous years. Five of the 10 whales that died with boat collision injuries in 2018 were endangered or threatened fin, blue and humpback whales. >click to read<15:29

1996: Calving of right whales faces new threats – Today: Lobstermen fear Right whale extinction threat is being overstated

The math of protecting right whales from extinction is scary stuff: The stakes are high, scientific opinion varies and some rescue plans could make it impossible for lobstermen to earn a living. Getting that math right matters when the futures of right whales and Maine’s lobster industry are so closely intertwined. Right whale numbers have dwindled to about 450 because of deadly ship strikes, fishing gear entanglements and low birth rates, while Maine’s lobster industry is the backbone of the state’s coastal economy, raking in about $434 million from landings in 2017 and generating another $1 billion for Maine in post-dock revenues. >click to read<08:56

1996: Calving of right whales faces new threats -,,, Scientists have sighted 20 calves, a record after years of falling counts. Only 320 or so of the behemoths now ply the North Atlantic.,,,at times getting hit. Other whales get entangled in fishing gear. But scientists say the roots of the problem go beyond such incidents and are increasingly a grim mystery, prompting a redoubling of protective efforts and detective work. >click to read<

New record of whale strandings along coast

While East Londoners have been enjoying a bumper season of whale sightings over the past few weeks, a fourth humpback whale in less than a month has beached and died along the East London coastline. East London Museum principal scientist Kevin Cole said the strandings were a new record for his cetacean database. Yesterday, Cole examined the badly decomposed carcass of the fourth dead humpback on the rocks west of Chintsa West.,,, He said a number of factors could be responsible for the strandings including old age, pollution, ship strikes and the effects of seismic blasting to explore for gas and oil offshore. click here to read the story 11:34