Newsday: NOAA probes 13 North Atlantic right whale deaths

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries division and Canadian authorities are launching an investigation after a number of North Atlantic right whales have died this summer, stressing the already imperiled population.

Thirteen of the critically endangered mammals have died since April — 10 in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence and three at or near Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, said David Gouveia of NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region.

Read the full story online here.

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Long Island Pulse Magazine: Will It Ever Be the Year of the Sea Turtle?

Long Islanders can hop on whale and seal watching cruises and go shark diving in an aluminum cage. Reports of whale, dolphin and shark sightings spark interest—or strike fear—in locals. But sea turtle spotting expeditions are nonexistent on the Island and the reptiles rarely make the news.

“Sea turtles are more difficult to spot,” said Robert A. DiGiovanni, founder and chief scientist of the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society. “The occurrence and encounter rate is low, partly based on their behavior and partly because they may spend less time on the surface when near shore in the bays and estuaries.”

Read the full story online here.

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First Marine Mammal Survey of Summer 2017

On Sunday, July 16, 2017 we conducted our first marine mammal survey of the season! Our team observed and documented nine bottlenose dolphins feeding four miles offshore and 12 miles east of Shinnecock Inlet in Southampton. While on the water, we also collected floating marine debris. This included plastics and lots of mylar balloons. These light weight items totaled 6.92 pounds - that's a lot of potentially harmful items that could lead to marine animal injuries or deaths. The marine debris was collected in less than a half hour of effort.

Marine debris is an entirely preventable cause of marine mammal and sea turtle entanglements, injuries, and deaths. When these items enter the marine environment they have the potential to harm wildlife, such as the bottlenose dolphins observed during the survey. 

Research is essential to our work. These surveys allow us to better understand the location and movements of these animals, as well as understand the environment in which they are living. All of the photos below were taken with research permit #20294.

 

 

Long Island Pulse Magazine: A Whale Of An Island

Long Island’s history with whales likely dates back to the 1600s when, according to sparse artifacts such as engravings, Native Americans hunted whales that swam close to shore. Long Islanders went on to pioneer whaling in the Northeast, opening ports in Sag Harbor, Greenport and Cold Spring Harbor. The whale was like a buffalo. It had multiple purposes—food, oil, tool-making.

Though the International Whaling Commission banned almost all whaling in 1986, our shores had appeared void of the sea mammals for about half a century. But last July, two humpbacks were repeatedly spotted in the Long Island Sound, prompting media and beachgoers to wonder if whales were navigating local waters more often. Robert A. DiGiovanni, the founder and chief scientist of Atlantic Marine Conservation Society would get word of a few sightings per year. Since 2014, it has gotten a few per week, mostly in New York Harbor, the Long Island Sound and the South Shore of Long Island.

Read the full story online here.

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