Marine Link
Saturday, January 20, 2018

Right Whale News

New iPad, iPhone App Helps Mariners Avoid Right Whales

Ithaca, N.Y. – Mariners along the U.S. east coast can now download a new iPad and iPhone application which warns them when they enter areas of high risk of collision with critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. The free Whale Alert app provides one source for information about right whale management measures and the latest data about right whale detections, all overlaid on NOAA digital charts. “Whale Alert represents an innovative collaboration to protect this critically endangered species,” said David Wiley, NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary research coordinator and project lead. A key feature of Whale Alert is a display linking near real-time acoustic buoys…

Right Whale – Wrong Whale

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a rule rescinding its 2003 rule that purported to separate the right whale into the North Atlantic right whale and the North Pacific right whale and make various other changes under the Endangered Species Act. The 2003 changes were made without proper authority. NMFS will commence analysis to determine whether the two northern right whales are related. Adding to the confusion, there is also a southern right whale. While the scientists try to sort this out, mariners should continue to avoid whales without discrimination. 70 Fed. Reg. 1830 (HK Law).

Potential Whale Breeding Grounds Discovered

A large number of North Atlantic right whales have been seen in the Gulf of Maine, leading right whale researchers at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center to believe they have identified a wintering ground and potentially a breeding ground for this endangered species. The NEFSC’s aerial survey team saw 44 individual right whales on Dec. 3 in the Jordan Basin area, located about 70 miles south of Bar Harbor, Maine. Weather permitting, the team regularly surveys the waters from Maine to Long Island and offshore 150 miles to the Hague Line (the U.S.-Canadian border)…

NOAA Proposal Aims to Extend Reduced Whale Ship Strikes

A right whale skim feeding with NOAA Ship Delaware II in the background.

NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on its proposal to make permanent the rules it implemented five years ago to reduce the number of collisions between ships and North Atlantic right whales. Right whales are among the most endangered species in the world, and are highly vulnerable to ship collisions. The rules, part of NOAA's long-standing efforts to recover right whales, are currently scheduled to expire in December 2013. NOAA's proposal to make them permanent, which includes a 60-day public comment period, was filed at the Federal Register today.

CG Reminder, Slow for Right Whales

The Coast Guard reminds operators of vessels 65 ft or greater in length that the Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule takes effect Nov. 1, requiring those vessels to slow down while operating in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic waters where North Atlantic Right whales are known to migrate, calve and nurse. The Coast Guard has worked closely with the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration and National Marine Fisheries Service division during the past decade to further both agencies’ shared goal of conserving and rehabilitating the North Atlantic right whale population. “The Coast Guard, in coordination with NMFS, has a long history of protecting living marine resources and will continue to take action to protect the right whale from ship strikes and other threats…

Sedative OKd To Help Free Entangled Whale

A federal judge in Boston on Friday cleared the way for rescuers to use a sedative to free a whale tangled in fishing line while fighting for its life off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass. District Judge George O'Toole rejected a motion by an environmental activist who said a sedative would kill the 50-ton North Atlantic right whale -- one of an estimated 100 to 500 of the endangered species remaining. The Center for Coastal Studies, a rescue group from Provincetown, Mass., plans to sedate the whale on Saturday and remove green fishing line deeply embedded in the whale's upper jaw. The whale suffers from a massive infection and has been uncooperative with rescuers. Environmental activist Richard Max Strahan argued the sedative, untested on right whales, would kill the animal.

NOAA, USCG Provide Commercial Mariners with Guide to Right Whale Protection

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service and the U.S. Coast Guard announce the availability of "A Prudent Mariner's Guide to Right Whale Protection" - an interactive, multi-media CD program that serves as a guide and voluntary training resource for commercial mariners operating in right whale habitats along the U.S. Atlantic coast. The CD, distributed free-of-charge upon request, provides a comprehensive collection of right whale information delivered in a compact and user-friendly format. The program includes: crew training information about right whales, recommended navigational actions when operating in right whale habitat, a guide to reporting sightings of dead or injured right whales, an informative video presentation, and a short follow-up quiz.

Changes in Vessel Operations Protects Whales

Years of study and effort by NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard will pay off this summer when two changes to shipping lanes into Boston are implemented. Both changes significantly reduce the risk of collisions between large ships and whales. Beginning on June 1, ships 300 gross tons and above will be asked to avoid an area in the Great South Channel from April through July, when right whales face the highest chance of being struck by ships. The channel is a feeding area for the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. Also, ships transiting primarily from the south and entering Boston Harbor in shipping lanes will travel a slightly different path. The north-south traffic lanes have been modified to reduce the threat of ship collisions with endangered right whales and other whale species.

NOAA Makes Recommendations to Reduce Collisions with Whales

NOAA this week urged ship captains to use new recommended routes when entering or leaving the Florida ports of Jacksonville and Fernandina, and Brunswick, Ga., as well as in Cape Cod Bay off Massachusetts. These new routes are expected to reduce the chances of ship strikes with endangered right whales. The recommended routes take into account safety and economic impact to the mariner. Although the routes are voluntary, they will appear on both electronic and paper NOAA nautical charts no later than November 30. The new designations will help mariners decrease whale strikes by reducing vessel activity in areas frequented by ships and whales. North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered marine mammal populations in the world, and are highly vulnerable to ship collisions.

Avoiding Collisions with the North Atlantic Right Whale

“Since implementation of mandatory seasonal speed restrictions along the U.S. east coast in 2008, the number of vessel struck right whales like this one has been dramatically reduced.”

Professional mariners have a unique responsibility as they transit the world’s oceans. Mariners see a part of this earth that the vast majority of humanity will never witness and, in turn, they become stewards of the ocean by following the numerous regulatory measures aimed at reducing the impact of shipping on the environment. These regulations include, but certainly are not limited to, the use of AIS to avoid collisions and harmful oil spills, ballast water discharge controlling the introduction of invasive species, ship emissions control, and a ban on dumping of plastics at sea.

New Bay of Fundy Shipping Lanes

Minister Robert Thibault, together with Dr. from ship strikes, will officially be put into operation on July 1, 2003. traffic flow in and around an area where the whale densities are the greatest. in order to protect Right Whales in the Bay of Fundy,” said Mr. Collenette. world’s first shipping lanes designed to protect the whale population. as well as distribution and notification procedures have been completed. waters later this summer. the world’s most endangered large whales,” said Minister Thibault. reports of 18 calves born this year. throughout the summer, with the main concentration of Right Whales. Whale Recovery Plan” led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. reducing strikes and maintaining safe commercial marine operations. whale-watching sectors. population, " said Dr. Brown.

NOAA – Avoid Migrating Whales

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reminded mariners to keep a sharp lookout for North Atlantic right whales in southeast US waters from November 15 through April 15. North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered marine mammal populations in the world. Vessel strikes and entanglement in fixed fishing gear are the two greatest threats to their recovery. This species is protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972…

Voluntary Right Whale Speed Restriction Zone in Rhode Island

Right Whale Courtesy NOAA

A voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area - DMA) has been established in Rhode Island Sound to protect an aggregation of 4 right whales sighted in this area on April 1, 2015. This DMA is in effect immediately through April 16, 2015. Mariners are requested to route around this area or transit through it at 10 knots or less. Mariners are requested to avoid or transit at 10 knots or less inside the following areas where persistent aggregations of right whales have been sighted. Please visit www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/shipstrike for more information. - Cape Cod Bay U.S.

Meetings To Address Problem of Ships Hitting Whales

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has scheduled four public meetings in September and October to discuss the problem of ships hitting endangered North Atlantic right whales. The meetings have a dual purpose: (1) to provide information on right whales and ship strikes, and (2) to gather suggestions and ideas on how ship strikes can be prevented. The meetings are scheduled for September 13 in Port Newark, New Jersey; September 14 in Silver Spring, Maryland; September 28 in Savannah, Georgia; and October 5 in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Court Protects Pacific Right Whale

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an Order directing the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), no later than October 28, to either issue a proposed rule designating an area of the Pacific Ocean as critical habitat for the Pacific Right Whale or issue a notice explaining why no critical habitat should be designated due to a more paramount statutory consideration (e.g., commercial or national security interest). The right whale was listed as endangered in 1971. NMFS issued a recovery plan in 1991 calling for designation of critical habitat for the whale by 1996. Three critical habitats have been designated in the Atlantic Ocean. Any impact on shipping will not be known unless and until a critical habitat has been selected.

Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction – ANPRM

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) discussing possible strategies to reduce mortalities to North Atlantic right whales as a result of vessel collisions. Strategies being considered include new operational measures (such as routing and speed restrictions), negotiation of a conservation agreement with Canada, and new education and outreach programs. Comments on the ANPRM should be submitted by August 2, 2004. 69 Fed. Reg. 30857 Source: HK Law

Bill to Protect Right Whales

Senator Kerry (D-MA) introduced a bill (S. 2657) to require the Secretary of Commerce to prescribe regulations to reduce the incidence of vessels colliding with North Atlantic right whales by limiting the speed of vessels, and for other purposes. This measure, if enacted, would require the prompt adoption of the June 26, 2006 proposed rule that would impose speed restrictions on vessels 65 feet or greater in length in certain locations and at certain times of the year along the east coast of the United States. (2/15/08).

North Atlantic Right Whale Management Measures

In August 2001, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed ship traffic management measures as a means of reducing the incidence of ship strikes and resulting fatalities of the North Atlantic Right Whale. There are approximately 350 surviving Right Whales, and they are considered to be the most endangered of the large mammals. Through federal regulation, the NMFS implemented a "mandatory ship reporting system" to increase the industry's awareness of the problem and encourage the coastal shipping community to take actions to reduce Right Whale fatalities. At the insistence of the shipping community and several ports along the Atlantic Coast, NMFS contracted for a report on the cost of such management measures to the shipping industry.

Captain and Crew of the Stena Timer Recognized by NMFS

Captain Don Lewis of The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) yesterday presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Captain Andrew Bielecki and the crew of the Stena Timer for their efforts and ship management practices during the 2001 northern right whale calving season. The Stena Timer is under charter to Crowley Liner Services and is deployed in the company's Bahamas service. Off the coast of Florida, the calving season lasts from December through the end of March. Warning System (EWS) and authorities from the states of Florida and Georgia monitor the calving area in small planes. The sighting information is passed on to ships passing through the area in an effort to prevent collisions between the ships and the whales.

Whales Beat Ship Strike Rule Deadline

Right Whale blowing: Photo credit US Govt.

Hours prior to the rule's scheduled expiration, the Obama Administration decided to uphold the Ship Strike Rule – an important development in the ongoing efforts to protect endangered right whales. 'The Final Rule to Reduce the Threat of Ship Collisions with North American Right Whales', also known as the 'Ship Strike Rule', mandates speed restrictions of no more than 10 knots for vessels 65 feet or greater in certain locations and at certain times of the year along the east coast of the United States.

Canada Orders Ships to Reduce Speed to Prevent Whale Deaths

North Atlantic right whales (Photo: Jolinne Surrette / Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Certain ships are being ordered to reduce speed because of the deaths of at least 10 North Atlantic right whales in Canada's Gulf of St Lawrence during the past two months, the government said on Friday. The deaths have made 2017 the deadliest year for the endangered marine mammal since scientists began tracking their numbers in the 1980s, researchers said. The ministries of transport and fisheries issued a temporary order for vessels 20 meters or longer to slow to a maximum of 10 knots in the western portion of the Gulf, which stretches from Quebec to north of Prince Edward Island.

Denial of Petition to Re-Route Ships

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a Notice stating that it denied the petition submitted by various environmental advocacy groups requesting that the agency promulgate emergency regulations to slow and/or re-route vessels within the habitat of the North Atlantic right whale. The agency has various pending efforts to enhance protection for this endangered species and issuance of an emergency rule at this time would curtail full public notice, comment, and analysis. In the meantime, NMFS continues to advise vessels transiting North Atlantic right whale habitats to comply with current regulations and to exercise caution to avoid ship strikes. 70 Fed. Reg. 56884 (September 29, 2005).

Whale Rescuers of Bay of Fundy

To the rescue!: Photo courtesy of CWRT

The Campobello Island Whale Rescue team disentangles whales caught in fishermen's gear and nets around the Bay of Fundy off the east coast of Canada. Campobello Whale Rescue Team began after Mackie Greene witnessed a fin whale wrapped in fishing gear while leading a whale watching trip. Since then he and his team have worked with over 20 whales, risking their lives driving a Zodiac up next to animals that can be 40 to 70 or more feet long, and cutting through the lines entangling them.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

Maritime Reporter and Engineering News’ first edition was published in New York City in 1883 and became our flagship publication in 1939. It is the world’s largest audited circulation magazine serving the global maritime industry, delivering more insightful editorial and news to more industry decision makers than any other source.

Subscribe
Maritime Reporter E-News subscription

Maritime Reporter E-News is the subsea industry's largest circulation and most authoritative ENews Service, delivered to your Email three times per week

Subscribe for Maritime Reporter E-News