Home » News » Politics » Granite Status
Fewer right whales seen, counted in Gulf Maine
Rather than the dozens that are sometimes seen in the gulf in November, only a single right whale was seen during aerial surveys this fall, said Tim Cole, a biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"November is usually a good time to find right whales in the Gulf of Maine," Cole said. "Typically, the gulf is very important to them."
This year, some apparently have moved earlier than usual to Cape Cod Bay and the outer shores of Cape Cod, an integral part of their yearly movements, said Charles "Stormy" Mayo, a marine biologist with the Center for Coastal Studies, which has been monitoring right whales continuously for 30 years.
Marine biologists speculate that ocean conditions have changed in the parts of the North Atlantic Basin - an area including the North Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico - where right whales have typically found adequate food at this time of year.Cole said the whales probably have gone out into deeper, colder waters or to other areas where copepods - tiny crustaceans that feed on microscopic plankton and phytoplankton, at the base of the food chain - are thriving.
"That change (in the whales' habitat) could be the result of climate change," Mayo said. "I don't think that conjecture is wild. I think it's logical."
The right whales' movements are critically important to Maine fisheries, animal advocates, conservationists and commercial interests in New England.
Fixed fishing gear, especially for lobstering, has been a problem for right whales, which get entangled, injured, trapped or even killed, he said, adding that the fate of the species is watched closely.
Because the center's right-whale tracking program off Cape Cod doesn't begin until January, the whale counts and sightings there this fall are the product of casual observations, not a formal study. But the early arrival of whales, in higher numbers, continues a trend that was first observed a few years ago, Mayo said.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Alice Cooper 'Raise The Dead – Live From Wacken' DVD out October 21 in North America via UDR Music - 0
- Joan Osborne & The Weight: Members of The Band in Plymouth next weekend - 0
- Signature Chefs Auction® Honors Manchester's Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield - 0
- Five Finger Death Punch co-headlining Fall arena tour with Volbeat kicks off today, hits Lowell September 26 - 0
- Win tickets to see Kip Moore - 0
- Win tickets to see Demi Lovato - 0
- Win tickets to see the John Butler Trio - 0
- Enter to win tickets to see the Dirty Heads - 0
- Win tickets to see Tower of Power - 0
Win tickets to see Kip Moore
Win tickets to see Demi Lovato
Win tickets to see the John Butler Trio
Enter to win tickets to see the Dirty Heads
NH couple hit slot for $2.4m in Las Vegas
Bikers say under-30 generation isn't interested, and can't afford many of the top motorcycles
Another View -- Sharon Day: The Democrats' claim to be the party for women is just not believable
Seabrook mom pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to attempted murder of her two children
Alleged accomplice in brutal Bedford home invasion, attack on doctor and wife, says his testimony was coerced
Man accused of raping 13-year old in Nashua