Deaths of North Atlantic right whales puzzle Canadian scientists
TORONTO, July 31 (Reuters) – US conservatives are struggling to discover why North Atlantic whales are dying in unprecedented numbers, with nine deaths in the Gulf of Saint Martin
Lawrence in two months, according to Canadian officials.
The nine deaths are most pronounced in 2017 for the endangered marine mammal since scientists began tracking numbers in the 1980s, said Kim Davies, a postdoctoral fellow at Dalhousie University, who is a pioneer in Way to keep track of your activity in real time.
There are about fifty of the North Atlantic right and left whales in the world.
Human activity has caused at least part of this summer’s death.
Three whales died a brutal force trauma when being hit by a large vessel while another died after being trapped in fishing gear, said Monday Tonya Wimmer, director of Marine Response Society.
The whale corpses are so large, Wimmer and his colleagues need a backhoe to enter the animals to perform necropsies.
Whales, designated as endangered species, have been seen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in greater than normal numbers this summer, Davies said, perhaps because their zooplankton food source is rarer in that other habitats such as the Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has closed a bit of snow crab fishing in early death and called on vessels in the high-traffic Gulf of San Lorenzo to voluntarily maintain their speed at 10 knots or less.
However, long-term solutions such as standards for speed, roads and equipment are needed to avoid more deaths such as these, Wimmer said.
“This is unprecedented, and it is catastrophic … For the sake of the species, it has to stop.” (Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny, Editing by Sandra Maler)