Monday, November 30, 2009
Canada Does Right By Whales
Hello, I am back. Time for some more whale and dolphin talk. This week there is good news and bad news to report about North Atlantic Right Whales, who are among the most endangered of all whales. Parenthetically, they got their name from whalers who said they were the ‘right’ whales to slaughter because they did not sink due to their high percentage of body fat. These whales migrate annually across heavy shipping lanes in both U.S. and Canadian waters, and deaths from collisions with ships present a serious threat to the survival of the species. The good news is that the current population of approximately 400 whales seems to be gradually making a comeback, thanks in large measure to the efforts of Canadian government and industry groups who have worked together to significantly reduce these collisions. They have done so by changing shipping lanes and requiring slower speeds for marine traffic through whale migration areas. The bad news is that ships in U.S. waters have largely ignored similar restrictions, and the government has been slow to take action that would improve compliance. Therefore, for now at least, Canada is the only country doing right by these magnificent beings. If this bothers you as much as it does me, please write your congressional representative, especially those of you who live in New England. If you do not do so, one day North Atlantic Right Whales will be gone. And nothing you or anyone can do will ever get them back.