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!!
By Kirsten Johnson
Japans whaling efforts, at least for this year in the Antarctica, have ended. In this case, as has been reported throughout the internet, many factors are at play. Certainly, the efforts of the Sea Shepherds and Capt. Paul Watson, are responsible for pushing the entire issue to the public forefront. I find it most interesting that, “Whale Wars” hero, Captain Watson, lists his home port as Friday Harbor, Washington which in my mind is one of the worlds hot-spots for whaling issues and in particular killer whale research and watching. If you have not already found the Whale Museum and their web site, http://www.whale-museum.org/ it really keeps one current on the what is happening on cetaceans. I need a history lesson on how all this ties together, but Ken Balcomb the international recognized marine mammal expert, should also be mentioned for his significant contributions. Based on his efforts, Navy Sonar has come under close scrutiny which has resulted in a huge shift in public understanding of the dangers associated with the damaging effects it has on whales. Further his efforts to expose an equally devastating practice on marine species is the use of LIMPETS, also known as double hooked barbed darts used in tagging. We at Champions for Cetaceans have posted several blogs on these issues.
While reading an excellent article that criticized whaling on “The Diplomat” called, “Why did Japan Suspend Whaling?” written by Andy Sharp, I came upon a great comment by the author Animux. What he said really sums up the issue on whaling and why the Japanese must stop now.
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
Dad spent all morning on this. Follow the path below to give Orca’s a voice.
Email your objections to: email@example.com
or write to:
Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division
NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705,
Silver Spring, MD 20910
File No. 781-1824
In opposition to proposed Permitting
I am opposed to this proposal based on the following:
1) The size of the resident pod that is designated for this study is so small that based on tagging up to 20 orcas per year would mean all pod members could be involved over a five year period.
2) The method of tagging is questionable, and resulted in the death of at least one mammal. This based on past research conducted by NMF when high powered air guns were used to deliver the dart.
3) Once tagged long term puncture wounds can develop which could put these mammals at risk for potential debilitating diseases.
4) Less invasive tracking methods have been identified which would provide much more data over longer periods of time as compared to the proposed dart tagging which lasts a maximum of 90 days.
The work of various individuals, societies and organizations have made well documented efforts to understand our fellow community members. It is an affront to their extreme intelligece, and exposes them to unwarrented risks. By all means please deny this proposal and allow for futher review and hopefully modifications which will include input from a caring human community.
Edward W. Johnson
Cannon Beach, OR 97110