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Old 18-02-2021, 06:42   #1
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Right Whales

There are only about 450 North Atlantic Right Whales left alive. They winter off Florida & Georgia and travel north to summer grounds off Nova Scotia & Gulf of St. Lawrence,returning south each fall.
Ship strikes are the most common killer.Fishing gear entanglement has been greatly reduced in recent years.
Please do your part by reporting sightings over VHF,etc. (Securite')

Please slow down & keep a good watch.
To do so is in all our best interests.All whales (rightfully) are highly politicized & strong reulations have been enacted(at least up North) to protect them.This includes closure of large water areas for up to 14days if one Right Whale is spotted in the area. Google "Right Whale" for further info.
TKS/ Len


https://www.jacksonville.com/story/n...et/4481428001/


https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-b...eath-1.5917363
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Old 18-02-2021, 07:15   #2
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Re: Right Whales

In 2017 we came across the beached carcass of one of the Right Whales that had been killed by a ship strike. It was a sad (and stinky) sight. That year they started to slow traffic downs in the Gulf. Ironically, one of the first ships that was charged was a Canadian Coast Guard vessel .
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Old 21-02-2021, 21:39   #3
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Re: Right Whales

Apparently lobster traps are another serious threat. These "ropeless" traps would also be nice for us sailors.

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/21/96952...l-the-industry
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Old 22-02-2021, 00:41   #4
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Re: Right Whales

I was sailing past Duxbury Beach in Cape Cod Bay when suddenly, several northern right whales (probably, sadly, fewer than 400 now) surfaced.

It was magnificent, and I tacked and got the hell out of there.

In addition to avoiding these fantastic creatures, you should also alert the US Coast Guard on channel 16 of their presence and your location.
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Old 22-02-2021, 05:42   #5
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Re: Right Whales

Whale info:


https://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/campaign-c...ex-eng.html#s1


https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/speci...ic-right-whale




Current known Right Whale position map:
https://whalemap.ocean.dal.ca/WhaleM...xC1iCSkq_0g8Wc
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Old 22-02-2021, 08:03   #6
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Re: Right Whales

Ropeless technology will make a huge difference. Most right whales have already become entangled once in their lives. I think the figure is somewhere near 90%.
Ropeless technology works and the resistance from the lobster industry will of course be about money. They catch every lobster at least once before it can grow to legal size. This fact just proves the extreme fishing pressure which characterizes the fishery. The industry has seen ever increasing numbers of pots and larger boats. It takes a lot of money just to enter the fishery.
I was born and worked in the fishing industry in New Bedford so I am very pro fishing but I can hear the howling about gear costs already beginning in Maine.
The Feds could help but don’t believe lobster fishermen in Maine are not capable of getting money to do this...on one hand, they appeal to the public with the slogan “we fish for all the people” meaning the people who don’t have boats or that don’t live in lobster land. Well the right whales do belong to all the people and so do all the lobsters. Ropeless lobster fishing is proven science and technology. It’s just the right thing to do.
Before your next lobster dinner, ask if the lobster was caught with ropeless. Feedback from consumers is a powerful agent of change.
The cost of ropeless technology will drop as more units are sold and pressure applied by consumers. Someday...it will be the blue crab industry.
The stronger the voices of the consumer, the faster this will happen.
Happy trails to you
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Old 22-02-2021, 08:15   #7
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Re: Right Whales

This story just played on the news:

Fin, blue whales getting tangled in fishing gear in Gulf of St. Lawrence more often than thought: study

Quote:
Between 41 and 57 per cent of fin whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are getting entangled in fishing gear, a problem previously identified mainly in right whales and humpbacks, according to new research that relied on drones. Scientists say the rates are likely comparable for blue whales as well.

The finding upends previous estimates of entanglements of around 10 per cent and suggests the world's largest whales are also at risk from fishing gear in the Gulf.

"Entanglement in fishing gear is a problem not only for North Atlantic right whales and humpbacks but also for blue and fin whales," said Christian Ramp, a biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, based in Rimouski, Que. "The encounter rate is really high and worrisome."
Research paper: https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esr/v44/p33-44/
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Old 22-02-2021, 08:58   #8
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Re: Right Whales

All the coastal Maine lobstermen push back on suggestions that their gear endangers right whales. Does anyone know of any legitimate research to dispute that?

I get that nets can be deadly to whales. But a vertical piece of line in near-shore waters? Minke whales maybe, although I've never heard of that either. But right whales are generally not that close to shore, at least in Maine waters. Maybe off Stellwagon Bank it's different, and admittedly the offshore guys fish in deeper waters.

The sense among the fishermen I know is that it's a knee-jerk reaction to a problem which doesn't exist, at least in their areas. Nobody wants to kill whales, and anyway if they were losing gear to whales they'd want to do something about it.
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Old 22-02-2021, 09:11   #9
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Re: Right Whales

Unfortunately, about a week and a half ago, we lost a baby right whale, reckoned to be about one month old, in St Augustine due to a boat strike. It was reported the mother was injured, too. The boat issued a mayday alert after hitting the whale because it was sinking. It was grounded on a sand bar to prevent this and later was towed to a boatyard down the San Sebastian River for extensive repairs.
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Old 22-02-2021, 09:42   #10
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Re: Right Whales

I’m not sure about who is right regarding current types of lobster fishing gear endangering right whales. I generally think it’s not a big problem because most lobstering takes place close to shore and I’ve only right or finback whales out much further from shore. But that’s just my casual observation that’s not based on rigorous scientific research. But I do know several lobstermen and am good friends with one and if a mandate came down that he had to spend a lot of money replacing equipment he couldn’t afford it. Occasionally he has a good year but barely pays the bills most years. So, if lobstering equipment really is a problem that must be solved, any government mandates must be very well thought out or a LOT of lobsterman will be forced into bankruptcy and out of the industry. IF rigorous scientific studies determine that lobstering gear is threatening right whales, possibly any changes could be limited to waters deeper than 200’ (arbitrary) or whatever depth where right whales are commonly found? Hopefully any solution to this issue will be a balanced approach that actually helps limit risk to whales and only minimally impacts most lobstermen
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Old 22-02-2021, 12:09   #11
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Re: Right Whales

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Originally Posted by jtsailjt View Post
Hopefully any solution to this issue will be a balanced approach that actually helps limit risk to whales and only minimally impacts most lobstermen
Exactly. I hope the lobstermen don't become the scapegoats for a larger problem that they don't significantly contribute to. We've seen the same thing with no-discharge zones for boaters, while municipal sewage discharges and agricultural runoff are bigger issues. Or with anchoring restrictions for traveling cruisers when the problem is really the derelicts.
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Old 22-02-2021, 13:13   #12
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Re: Right Whales

Every year the number of right whales drops. 83 % of them have scars from entanglement with fishing gear. It’s the leading cause of North Atlantic Right Whale mortality.
This is the science. Not my opinion. It’s simply the facts. If you need the facts, try google.
Lobsters belong to everybody. Whales belong to everybody.
If you want to make your living harvesting a public resource, then you have to play by the rules...the law. The public resource is managed through a process in which everyone can have a voice. No one is ignoring the economic impact.
Please don’t tell me anyone is being shut out of the process or being treated unfairly.
I wrote one of the first laws on aquaculture in Massachusetts 1978. Aquaculture was a new industry. A lot of people from the fishing industry and fisheries science helped to fine tune a law which would try to address the issues of everyone involved. I wrote an entire section of the Federal Law protecting manatees during the final draft of the” settlement “ of a number of lawsuits over manatee protection. That’s how a Democracy works.
Fishermen have groups which represent them. Every special interest group can have a voice in the process of resource management.
My point about this technology is simple. It represents a compromise solution which might have a dramatically positive result. Without which, the right whale will be lost.
A lot of sailors on this forum express time and time again, how special it is to encounter a marine mammal. How very lucky we are...all the more reason to pick up the phone and call your representative in Washington and ask them to protect all marine mammals, and to support the American fishing industry by requiring imports to be responsibly harvested and to provide financial assistance to fishing families.
Happy trails to you.
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Old 22-02-2021, 13:34   #13
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Re: Right Whales

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
Exactly. I hope the lobstermen don't become the scapegoats for a larger problem that they don't significantly contribute to. We've seen the same thing with no-discharge zones for boaters, while municipal sewage discharges and agricultural runoff are bigger issues. Or with anchoring restrictions for traveling cruisers when the problem is really the derelicts.



I live in a lobster fishing community also. No lobsterman that I know wants to lose gear to whales or anything else. Deep water (300 ft plus),where the Right Whales congregate locally,is fished by the trawl method. 20-40 traps are strung along a groundline. There are one or two buoy lines. This is a big decrease in buoy lines compared to the old method of one per trap,though singles are still fished in shallow water.
The ropeless buoy systems are being tested. As the article says,that was a one boat test of the mechanism. Put a hundred or so lobster boats setting 10-20 trawls on say 10 sq mi. of bottom,with no buoys showing above water,& the criss cross snarls would be unreal.

Yes,there have been many marine animal killed or wounded by fishing gear entanglement & vessel strikes over the last hundred years. But there have been great steps made in reducing these incidents,especially in the last 20 yrs.

Please check the facts before critiquing-there are powerful groups,politics & huge $$ involved-as usual.


I posted a link to the Whale Map previously & I'm posting it again. Please have a look at it.It shows the daily position of various whales. It also shows the planes,vessels,buoys,sonobuoys,etc. that are being used daily to track whales up & down the coasts. If nothing else,it will show you where to whale watch. And when you see a whale-make a Securite call on VHF 16-You might save it's life.
https://whalemap.ocean.dal.ca/WhaleM...xC1iCSkq_0g8Wc

Cheers/Len
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Old 23-02-2021, 06:31   #14
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Re: Right Whales

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Every year the number of right whales drops. 83 % of them have scars from entanglement with fishing gear. It’s the leading cause of North Atlantic Right Whale mortality.
I don't know if this was directed at my question, but if so you may have missed the point. How much of that "fishing gear" is lobster buoy line?

The lobstermen I talk to claim it's virtually nothing. Maybe they're lucky. Maybe they fish in a place where there are no right whales.

What I question is lumping all "fishing gear" into one category, with no distinction as to where the real problem lies. Most lobstermen are small, one-boat family operations. Yes, they have a voice, but it's not always heard over the roar of the big corporate fisheries and shipping industries and their lobbyists.

I won't dispute that 83% of whales have "fishing gear" scars. But what percentage have scars from orcas, or ship strikes, or giant squid, or whatever other hazards they face? I have scars too, but I'm not advocating banning whatever it was I cut myself on.

What percentage of those scars are from lobster gear? Where was that gear encountered?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deblen View Post
Yes,there have been many marine animal killed or wounded by fishing gear entanglement & vessel strikes over the last hundred years. But there have been great steps made in reducing these incidents,especially in the last 20 yrs.
Good points. I've heard other sources claim that ship strikes are a leading cause of mortality, too. I suspect each special interest group is going to blame the others. There are powerful corporate forces involved, and they have well-paid lobbyists. It would be typical for politicians to want to "do something" without offending their corporate donors, so laws tend to adversely affect the small businesses.

And thanks for posting that map again, it's a great resource.
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Old 23-02-2021, 07:27   #15
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Re: Right Whales

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptTom View Post
I don't know if this was directed at my question, but if so you may have missed the point. How much of that "fishing gear" is lobster buoy line?

The lobstermen I talk to claim it's virtually nothing. Maybe they're lucky. Maybe they fish in a place where there are no right whales.

What I question is lumping all "fishing gear" into one category, with no distinction as to where the real problem lies. Most lobstermen are small, one-boat family operations. Yes, they have a voice, but it's not always heard over the roar of the big corporate fisheries and shipping industries and their lobbyists.

I won't dispute that 83% of whales have "fishing gear" scars. But what percentage have scars from orcas, or ship strikes, or giant squid, or whatever other hazards they face? I have scars too, but I'm not advocating banning whatever it was I cut myself on.

What percentage of those scars are from lobster gear? Where was that gear encountered?



Good points. I've heard other sources claim that ship strikes are a leading cause of mortality, too. I suspect each special interest group is going to blame the others. There are powerful corporate forces involved, and they have well-paid lobbyists. It would be typical for politicians to want to "do something" without offending their corporate donors, so laws tend to adversely affect the small businesses.

And thanks for posting that map again, it's a great resource.



Up until 2017,ship strikes were considered the leading cause of Right Whale death.
In 2017 & later,Right Whales stopped coming to the Bay of Fundy/Gulf of Maine summer feeding grounds. Instead,they continued on up the eastern shore of N.S. and many turned into the Gulf & congregated near the mouth of the St. Lawrence R..

This was a surprise to everybody,& Gulf commercial fishermen & their crab trap gear were unprepared. Along with ship strikes,there was a veritable "slaughter" of Right Whales in the Gulf for a couple of years. Fishing gear entanglement surpassed ship strikes per the attached charts.
Rapid & severe restrictions & monitoring were enacted by Canada,& the situation has improved.


Cheers/ Len


https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/natio...ortality-event


https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/princ...tudy-1.5817301


https://baleinesendirect.org/en/righ...ation-in-2018/
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