Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

FSU scientist warns North Atlantic right whale facing extinction

25.07.2005


Paper appears in July 22 edition of Science, says government protections inadequate



The North Atlantic right whale’s future looks grim if the current mortality rates continue, according to Florida State University assistant professor of oceanography Douglas Nowacek and a group of fellow scientists from across the nation. They have co-authored a paper titled "North Atlantic Right Whales in Crisis" that appears in the July 22 edition of the journal Science.

In it, Nowacek and his colleagues contend that while the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service has been charged with reducing the number of North Atlantic right whales killed by human activity, the government simply isn’t doing enough to protect the North Atlantic right whale and its habitats. At least 50 percent of all recorded deaths are due to collisions with ships and entanglements in fishing gear.


"This is in our power to control," said Nowacek. "The Endangered Species Act has a clear mandate to stop extinctions. For this whale, it is time to enforce that mandate."

Right whales range in the coastal waters of eastern North America from the Canadian Maritimes to Florida, regions heavily used by the military and by fishing and shipping industries. Despite international protections since 1935, it remains one of the most endangered whales in the world after 1000 years of whaling brought it close to extinction in the early 20th century.

Data compiled by Nowacek and his co-principal investigators documents an unprecedented eight whale deaths during the past 16 months -- almost three times the average annual rate in 25 years of study of the species -- including six adult females, three of which carried near-term fetuses. At least four of the whales were killed by human activities; ships hit three; and one whale was entangled in fishing gear. Only 17 percent of all mortality is detected, so reports of dead whales represent only a small fraction of actual deaths.

"Recent increases in calving rates, an average of 23 annually over the last five years, are inadequate to overcome this level of mortality," the paper states. "Without changes in the management of shipping and fisheries, right whales face extinction within the next 100 years."

The current plight of the North Atlantic right whale stands in stark contrast to that of the Southern Hemisphere right whale, whose population is estimated to be more than 10,000 and is increasing at approximately 7.2 percent per year.

While there have been efforts to minimize the risk of ship strikes -- mandatory ship location reporting, extensive aerial survey efforts and mariner education -- the scientists say that the initiatives don’t lead to a reduction in ship strike mortalities without required changes in the operation of ships within right whale habitats and migratory corridors.

And although the risk of fishing gear entanglements have been addressed through gear modifications and selective area closures, paper co-authors declare those closures inadequate because they don’t fully address the seasonal movement of right whales.

The scientists recommend the immediate implementation of interim emergency rules to address the current crisis and emphasize the need for renewed support now from the U.S. Congress and research community as well as the fishing industry.

Douglas Nowacek | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ocean.fsu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht Using drones to estimate crop damage by wild boars
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>