right whale tagged posts

New Ways to Protect Right Whales With Help of Fishermen

The body of a right whale, named Snake Eyes, was found off Long Island last month. He most likely got tangled in fishing gear, according to the necropsy results

Marc Palombo has been fishing lobster for 41 years, and he wants fishermen who come after him to be able to do the same. That’s why he’s testing a new type of fishing gear that, along with other efforts in New England and Canada, is being designed to avoid harming North Atlantic right whales.

The number of North Atlantic right whales, one of the world’s most endangered large whale species, has declined from about 500 in 2010 to about 400 in 2019. This year, about 10 have been found dead, but that number is uncertain.

Not one of the nearly 30 right whale deaths in the last three years has been attributed to natural causes, said Philip Hamilton, a research scientist with the New England Aquarium, which maintains a catalog of North Atlantic right whales. Mr...

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How to weigh a whale without a scale

Southern right whale mother and calf in clear waters off Argentina

How do you weigh the largest animals on the planet? Until now it has only been possible to weigh whales once they have washed up dead on beaches. Now scientists have solved the conundrum, with the help of aerial photographs taken by drones.

Their model accurately calculated the body volume and mass of wild southern right whales. Already being used to assess the survival of calves, it has many potential uses in conservation.

Body mass is a key factor in the success of whales as a group, determining their energy uses, food requirements and growth rates.

Yet most of what we know about the body size of whales comes from old whaling literature or from animals that end up stranded on the beach or caught in fishing gear.

“It is very difficult to measure a whale on a scale – I mean you have to k...

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‘They’re Dying Because We’re Killing Them’

It’s been a tough start to summer for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Six were found dead last month in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, off Canada. Their deaths are prompting ocean officials to call for a swift response to protect the remaining 400 or so whales that are left. Part of this response came Monday night. Canadian officials announced protective measures for the right whale, including reduced ship speeds and increased aerial surveillance in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

Patrick Ramage is the director of marine conservation for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Ramage is in Washington D.C. this week with IFAW, brainstorming for ways to better protect right whales. He spoke with WGBH Radio’s Judie Yuill about the plight of the North Atlantic Right Whales...

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