Making Moves for Whales

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 by Meredyth

Humans are not the only species that like to spend their summer in or around the Gulf of Maine. One of the many Gulf of Maine summer residents is the North Atlantic Right Whale. The North Atlantic Right Whale, Eubalaena glacialis is still considered an endangered species however scientist believe that there are now more then 500 of them, a number larger than we've seen in a while.

Credit: Georgia Wildlife Resources Division

Hundreds of tanker ships head into the Bay of Fundy, the whale’s summer home, every year. A decade ago, Irving Oil, the New England Aquarium, and Dalhousie University scientists worked together to move the routes these ships take in hopes to reduce ship strikes between whales and tankers. At the time it was estimated that there were as little as 300 North Atlantic Right Whales. This change means that ships avoid a deep area where whales are known to feed on plankton. In the decade before making this change four ships struck and killed North Atlantic Right Whales in the Bay of Fundy.  There have been no recorded strikes since!

This is just one example of the changes that people are making to protect this endangered species. No one knows for sure which changes are having the biggest impact but everyone is happy that the population seems to be growing!

Check out this blog story to learn more about whales in the Gulf of Maine

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