Chase away the chill! Start planning your whale watch now.
While whale activity in Massachusetts Bay is quieter this time of year, humpbacks have been spotted as recently as early-January. Some whales will remain as long as they can before migrating south and occasionally, we see whales who have decided to overwinter here. North Atlantic right whales have been in the news with the arrival of 14 known new calves! Unfortunately, two of the calves have not been resighted and one has been gravely injured by a vessel strike. We remain hopeful for the health of the remaining 11 and note that we are approaching the time of the year where they may be spotted from the beaches of Provincetown. Suit up in your warm winter gear and head to Race Point by March or April for a chance to get one of the best views at these critically endangered animals.
Whale and Vessel Safety Task Force Formed
We were heartened to read this article by Eric Colby in the April 3rd issue of Soundings Trade Only publication and wanted to share it with our many visitors concerned about efforts to protect the North Atlantic right whales.
Marine industry stakeholders have established a Whale and Vessel Safety Task Force, which will work to identify, develop and implement technology and monitoring tools to mitigate the risk of vessel strikes to marine mammals, in particular, the North Atlantic right whale.
“The marine industry is committed to working with NOAA and industry partners to reduce the risk of vessel strikes on NARW and other marine mammals through the use and development of scalable, quantifiable technology-based solutions,” John DePersenaire, director of government affairs and sustainability for Viking Yacht Co., said in a statement. “Management of the NARW has proven difficult for resource managers, and the marine community is stepping forward to help meet that challenge.”
NOAA Fisheries, under authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, seeks to reduce vessel strikes by implementing 10-knot seasonal speed limits and dynamic speed restriction zones along much of the East Coast.
The WAVS task force plans to demonstrate that leveraging available and emerging technologies is the most holistic approach to reducing encounters between whales and vessels. The group is calling on commercial sectors that specialize in monitoring, detection and communications systems to better connect monitoring equipment and boat operators and provide near real-time warnings in areas that right whales frequent.
Task force members represent a broad spectrum of independent stakeholders with backgrounds in marine mammal monitoring and detection, spatial risk analysis, electronics, marine biology, data analysis and telemetry.
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