Boaters Enlisted to Help Track Whales

Posted by Eric Haun
Friday, January 31, 2014
(Credit: Center for Coastal Studies (CCS))

Yachters and sailors are invited to help scientists track the movements of endangered humpback whales between NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and its sister sanctuaries across the Caribbean as part of Carib Tails, a new international citizen science effort.

Carib Tails is a collaboration between the sanctuary and partners at Marine Mammal Sanctuary of the Dominican Republic, Agoa Marine Mammal Sanctuary/French Antilles, Bermuda Marine Mammal Sanctuary, the marine mammal sanctuaries of the Windward and Leeward Dutch Antilles, and the United Nations Caribbean Environment Program’s Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Program (UNEP/SPAW).

By photographing the tails of humpbacks they encounter at sea, boaters can support on-going research to collect migration data on the shared population of approximately 1,000 humpbacks. Photographs will be matched to entries in the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog and images of previously unknown and unphotographed whales will be added to the collection.

The project stresses safe boating and viewing practices around these endangered animals, which includes not approaching within 100 yards of the whales, and federal regulations apply. A dedicated website provides tips on how to photograph flukes for research purposes, photo submission forms and other information about humpback whales.

Researchers identify individual humpback whales by the black and white patterns on the underside of their flukes, or tails. Scars and natural pigmentation, ranging from all white to all black, along with the scalloped shaped edge of the tail, give each whale a distinct identification. Photographs of humpback flukes have allowed researchers to monitor the movements, health and behavior of individual animals since this research began in the 1970s.

At Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, “Salt,” the sanctuary’s most well known whale and a mother of 12, was the first East Coast humpback to be named and the first of the sanctuary’s whales to be identified off the Dominican Republic.

“The story of Salt is one example of the power of collaborative science,” said Craig MacDonald, Stellwagen sanctuary superintendent. “Carib Tails is an exciting opportunity for citizen scientists to help expand and enrich our understanding of how this charismatic species connects us to our Caribbean counterparts.”

“Whales follow long-distance courses that take them to destinations similarly favored by yachters,” said Alessandra Vanzella-Khouri, UNEP/SPAW program director. “For the ocean lovers among us, what better way to respect the marine environment and add value to your travels than by becoming a citizen scientist?”

Stellwagen Bank sanctuary’s Sister Sanctuary Program began in 2007 to increase public awareness and help improve recovery of the shared population of humpback whales through joint research, monitoring, education and other programs.

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary encompasses 842 square miles of ocean, stretching between Cape Ann and Cape Cod offshore of Massachusetts. Renowned for its biological diversity and remarkable productivity, the sanctuary is famous as a whale watching destination and supports a rich assortment of marine life, including marine mammals, seabirds, fishes and marine invertebrates. The sanctuary’s position astride the historic shipping routes and fishing grounds for Massachusetts’ oldest ports also makes it a repository for shipwrecks representing several hundred years of maritime transportation.
 

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter May 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Environmental

US Navy Updated Zika Virus Infection Guidance

Navy Medicine released updated Zika Virus Infection guidance in NAVADMIN 121/16, May 26, communicating current information, travel precautions, and risk reduction

Seaspan Acquires Eighth 14000 TEU Vessel

Seaspan Corporation (NYSE:SSW) announced today that it accepted delivery of a 14000 TEU containership, the YM Width. The new containership, which was constructed at CSBC Corporation,

GloMEEP Project Forges Ahead with Train-the-Trainer Workshop

A global Train-the-Trainer workshop on energy efficiency has been delivered in China (23-27 May), preparing the personnel needed to cascade knowledge on energy

News

APM Terminals Bahrain Push for Safety, IT systems

Hidd, Khalifa Bin Salman Port, Bahrain - APM Terminals Bahrain, operators of Khalifa bin Salman Port (KBSP), has recently made significant advances in Safety performance

Seized Hanjin Shipping Vessel Resumes Operation in South Africa

Hanjin Paradip resume  its sailing from South Africa as talks continue with owner over unpaid charter fees. The ship had been detained in Richards Bay, South Africa

Deployment: The Transpacific Trade Steps Up To The Plate

In 2015, it was the Asia-Europe route which was the focus of changing deployment trends, says Clarksons Research.   This year, it is the Transpacific trade which

Marine Science

P&I Club warns on Enclosed Space Entry & Testing

The London P&I Club says it continues to see cases of injuries and fatalities associated with entry into enclosed onboard spaces, including cargo holds on bulk

TAMRF Extends Research Vessel Charter

Overseas Drilling Ltd., a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Siem Offshore Inc., and Texas A&M Research Foundation (TAMRF) have agreed to extend the charter of the

Kongsberg Tech for Peruvian Arctic Research Vessel

Kongsberg Maritime has been chosen to deliver an integrated subsea technology systems package including two HUGIN Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV) for a new

Government Update

1,076 Graduate from U.S. Naval Academy

The U.S. Naval Academy graduated 1,076 men and women at the annual graduation and commissioning ceremony May 27 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm.

Details El Faro's Sinking Emerge from US Probe

U.S. investigators on Friday concluded two weeks of hearings into the sinking of cargo ship El Faro in a hurricane last fall that included reports the vessel had

Defense Appropriations Bill Includes $1 Bln for US Icebreaker

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill has included $1 billion in funding to accelerate construction of a new polar icebreaker for the U.

Ocean Observation

TAMRF Extends Research Vessel Charter

Overseas Drilling Ltd., a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Siem Offshore Inc., and Texas A&M Research Foundation (TAMRF) have agreed to extend the charter of the

Dubai Partners with WOC on Ocean Sustainable Dwevelopment

The Dubai Council on Marine and Maritime Industries (DCMMI) and the World Ocean Council (WOC) have agreed to collaborate on ocean sustainable development and corporate ocean responsibility.

Taiwan Maritime Negotiations with Japan

Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Minister David Lee said  that the government is slated to start maritime negotiations with Japan by late July in an effort to better protect

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1223 sec (8 req/sec)