Posted on January 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Gray whale. Photo courtesy Merrill Gosho/NOAA.
Maritime authorities seek to protect marine mammals, ease shipping flow
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Whales off the busy California coast will get a bit more breathing room, as the International Maritime Organization will adjust several shipping lanes, including routes that cross three national marine sanctuaries.
“This is a win-win situation, backed by NOAA research, that allows for enhanced protection of endangered whales and natural resources while at the same time increasing maritime safety,” said William J. Douros, west coast regional director of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “We are pleased with the shipping industry and the IMO’s decision to support the proposed amendments.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Gulf of the Farallones, International Maritime Organization, marine conservation, oceans, Santa Barbara Channel, whales | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 8, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
From sea to shining sea …
Teaching my son to swim at the Silverthorne Rec Center here in landlocked Colorado paid off when we visited Jamaica, where he swam with confidence in the surf at the edge of the sea.
SUMMIT COUNTY — I live in a place that’s about as landlocked as you can get, at least 1,000 miles from an ocean in any direction, yet I’m drawn to the seaside and visit every chance I get. There’s something incredibly meditative about sitting on a beach and watching waves roll in and crash ashore, and hardly anything is as invigorating as an ocean swim. I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t live in the mountains close to good skiing, I’d live by an ocean, but in the meantime, I can always visit and revisit some of my favorite spots vicariously, through the many photos I’ve taken. And in honor of World Oceans Day and National Oceans Week here in the U.S. the #FriFotos twitter chat this week is all about oceans — here’s my take.
Filed under: Morning photo, photography | Tagged: #FriFotos, Caribbean, oceans, penguins, Southern Ocean, Travel, whales, World Oceans Day | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 15, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Three humpback whales surrounded by birds in NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
Economics, marine science professors team up to offer a market-based solution to whale conservation
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A marine science professor and an economist from California say a market-based approach to whale conservation could help sustain populations of the cetaceans and also help whalers who make their living from killing the marine mammals.
Anti-whaling groups like Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, and the World Wildlife Fund spend at least $25 million per years on a variety of activities intended to end commercial whaling, yet every year, commercial whaling not only continues, but grows.
Instead of spending that money on anti-whaling activities, the groups could use the money on an open whale conservation market to purchase a share of the quotas, thus saving whales directly.
Under the current, largely unregulated system, the number of whales harvested annually has doubled since the early 1990s, to about two thousand per year and many populations of large whales have been severely depleted and continue to be threatened by commercial whaling. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: Arizona State University, cap and trade, Environment, Greenpeace, International Whaling Commission, marine science, Summit County News, University of California, whale conservation, whales | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 13, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A North Atlantic right whale and calf. PHOTO COURTESY NOAA.
Remnant individuals recolonizing former habitat after whale slaughter of the 19th century
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Marine researchers are tracking an encouraging comeback of right whales along the coast of New Zealand, where up to 30,000 of sociable and playful animals use to gather and breed before they were slaughtered to near-extinction by whalers in the 19th century.
A study published last month has shown for the first time that whales from a small surviving population around remote, sub-Antarctic islands have found their way back to the New Zealand mainland. The findings were published in Marine Ecology Progress Series.
Before the onslaught of whaling, historical evidence suggests that right whales frequented New Zealand’s many sandy, well-protected bays to give birth and raise their calves. As a particularly social and acrobatic species, they could be seen from shore as they frolicked, slapped their tails and breached almost entirely out of the water. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology | Tagged: Australian Antarctic Division, biodiversity, Department of Conservation (New Zealand), Emma Carroll, Environment, marine mammals, New Zealand, Oregon State University, right whales, Summit County News, University of Auckland, whales, wildife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 13, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
A breaching humpback whale. PHOTO COURTESY OF WHIT WELLES.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Recovering whale populations could help boost the productivity of coastal fisheries, where the feces of the giant sea mammals adds critical nutrients to the ecosystem.
In the Gulf of Maine, for example, the whale poop adds up to about 23,000 metric tons of nitrogen annually — more than the input of all the rivers combined, according biologists Joe Roman and James McCarthy who recently published a paper describing how whales bring nutrient from the deep waters where they feed back to the surface.
It is well known that microbes, plankton, and fish recycle nutrients in ocean waters, but whales and other marine mammals have largely been ignored in this cycle. The new study shows that whales historically played a central role in the productivity of ocean ecosystems — and continue to do so despite diminished populations. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Environment, fisheries, Gulf of Maine, marine biology, Marine mammal, nitrogen, nutrient cycling, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, whales | Leave a Comment »