Bruce Mate not hooked to Double Hooked Barbed Darts


By Edward Johnson
4T24Q7NP83YW The last time I used ” double hooked barbed dart tags,” it related to the unusual path that Flex my magic western Pacific Gray Whale, took along our coast. At that time I said, ” We have not yet fully debated some of the critical questions that surround this migration. They include: Double hooked barbed dart attachment methods and associated risks to the health and well-being of marine mammals when extended tracking is required.” I strongly implied they had been used without checking the principal research scientist in charge. Today on this blog we passed 500 visits. Unfortunately many of those bloggers will never see the correction regarding the above incorrect assumption. Based on contacting the senior researcher from OSU, Corvallis, OR. Dr. Bruce Mate, an apology and correction can be made. This is a huge lesson for me, and could have been avoided by extending the courtesy and contacting Dr. Mate, prior to my blog. This man is one impressive dude, with a resume’ as long as a giants arm. Basically he stated that he has not used the double hooked barbed dart tags since the 1990’s. Further this position was reached after consultation with veterinarian experts and his own human ethical position. In that exchange he also explained his approach for tagging when satellite tracking methods were necessary.
Thanks again for the gracious, informative, respectful manner which you handled my relative ignorance. Bruce Mate you are a Champion!!

Flex the magic western grey whale, on to California!


By Edward Johnson
This is our second post on this particular story, unannounced he slipped right by us here in Cannon Beach, and as a crow flies under our nose. It seems he is following a path along our outer continental shelf and heading at a rate much faster than estimated by OSU scientist Bruce Mate. Two weeks ago, he projected him to be off the mid-Oregon Coast by mid-February. Looks like he will be a good hunk of the distance to San Francisco by then. My wife accuses me of speculating too often but it is appearing more likely that he has done this before as his trajectory seems to have picked the shortest distances between two points. Equally important is the source of potential food, which based on my reading and understanding, would be at minimum during migration.  But why has he positioned himself on the line of one of the planets greatest breadbaskets the coastal outer upwelling zone. Granted this time of year generates lower nutrients, sunlight, phytoplankton and zooplankton availability.  Blooms may be sporadic but could provide sustenance (Gray Whales generally consume up to 0.4 % of their body weight per day about 12 lbs or 26 kg). Another source of nutrient pump potential is that of the recent migration of our coastal Gray Whales. Whale poop is big as it provides the same nutrient needs as deep ocean upwelling, which in turn keeps reasonable phytoplankton populations which result in higher invertebrate numbers desired by Flex and his folks.

Our hopes and passions rest with these critters and we have not yet fully debated some of the critical questions that surround this migration. They include: Double barred dart attachment methods and associated risks to the health and well being of marine mammals when extended tracking is required. Should worldwide restrictions be placed on mineral extraction when it will impact critical habitat of endangered species. Sonar is critical for naval operations as well as for the marine mammal food gathering, navigation, securing mates and maintaining families therefore the advancement of the formal leads to the demise of the latter. We need to join together to protection the life potential of Flex and his water brethren.  Ed

http://mmi.oregonstate.edu/Sakhalin2010