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Principale » Autonomous glider to track critically endangered right whales

Autonomous glider to track critically endangered right whales

17 Août 2017

LeBlanc says there have been no new entanglements or collisions between whales and boats in the Gulf of St. Lawrence since a 10-knot speed limit was implemented on Friday.

The carcass was discovered on Saturday in the same area where several critically endangered North Atlantic right whales have been found dead over the past few months.

The move follows two months that saw an average of one North Atlantic right whale per week found dead in the shipping channel, which connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

Dr. Kimberley Davies, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Oceanography, Dalhousie University with Chris Taggart, a renowned biological oceanographer at the university have developed the Whales, Habitat and Listening Experiment (WHaLE) project to study the impact of vessel strikes on the whales.

However, biologist Regina Asmutis-Silvia of the Plymouth, Massachusetts-based group Whale and Dolphin Conservation said time was of the essence in making sure that the species doesn't go extinct.

"This level of deaths in such a short time is unprecedented", she told The Associated Press. Only five baby right whales appear to have been born this year, and the species can't withstand many years when deaths outnumber births, Kraus said. "They need help now".

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Davies said right whales are a part of Nova Scotia's heritage and their dwindling numbers should be a big concern.

The U.S. and Canada have taken measures with a focus on protecting right whales.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is using a host of new methods to try to help the whales, including surveillance flights along the Gulf of St. Lawrence coastline and closing a snow crab fishing area, said Sarah Gilbert, a spokeswoman for the department.

She said her project will eventually collect enough data to better understand the distribution of right whale prey fields and the boundaries of their habitats among others. The Canadian government has also announced new speed restrictions for ships, something which has been implemented in the USA too.

Officials are planning a response strategy, trying to determine if they can tow the carcass in to perform a necropsy or take samples at sea, she said.

Autonomous glider to track critically endangered right whales