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


Stop NOAA from Tagging Orca’s File # 781-1824

Dad spent all morning on this. Follow the path below to give Orca’s a voice.

Email your objections to: laura.morse@noaa.gov

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

Decision Makers:
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