Friday, November 17, 2017

Mid-November Whale News

No, these aren't whales - but they're very important to whales.

Interesting news week for whales in NYC and elsewhere along the east coast. Just a few links to share tonight.

In local whale news - 1st 2 are people trying to help whales:

Artie Raslich, Gotham Whale's fantastic photographer, goes out regularly during the week to shoot pictures from his own boat. He was looking through a set of photos recently when he noticed that the whale was entangled in fishing gear. He made a couple of calls, and on Sunday the 12th, a qualified team from the Center for Coastal Studies came to try to help. Artie was able to follow them in his own boat and shared the photos of the attempt on his blog. Click here to view. So much patience (from both the rescuers and Artie).

2nd story, also from Artie, this time actively trying to help herd a whale out of Reynolds Channel, the next inlet east of NY Harbor. There's a railroad bridge that the whale somehow got past coming in (maybe chasing a school of menhaden) but seems nervous about re-negotiation to get back out to sea. Fingers crossed for a happy ending to this one. Update - sounds like "Reynolds" has made his way back to open water. Hooray! 

3rd story - the American Princess has added 3 more whalewatching trips after Thanksgiving. I went out on their trip on the 5th (will post about that soon, it was amazing, the captain and crew had to search for a while but finally found us a whole pod, 6 or 7 whales, and so much bird life out there while we were looking!), which was supposed to be the last one for the season, but the Gotham Whale folks mentioned that if the boat's annual Coast Guard passenger vessel inspection went smoothly they might add a few more. All must have gone well, because earlier this week, they announced 3 additional trips, one each on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of November. They've had a great season, still amazes me that we have all these whales who are amenable to being respectfully watched right here in NYC. In the NY area and want to give it a try? Click here to visit their site, and visit Gotham Whale to learn more about our local cetacean population. BTW if you are a local boater, you can help Gotham Whale study our local whales, dolphins, and seals; click here to report sightings.

In news of people being less helpful to whales - I was waiting eagerly to hear the results of a vote that was being taken by the Atlantic States Fisheries Commission concerning the management of menhaden, the small and oil-rich fish that is a major food source for our local maritime predators, from whales and dolphins to stripers and blues to gannets and egrets and osprey (oh my). Those are menhaden (aka bunker) in my photo above, taken in Jamaica Bay. These aren't a food fish for humans, but they do have uses that can make money, so there's a fishery. This week's issue was one of managing that fishery.

The NY Times wrote what I thought was an excellent opinion piece describing the situation. Click here to read.

I wondered all week how the vote went and finally found out today via a post to the Facebook group Church of the Double Bladed Paddle. The results?

Could have been worse, but also could definitely have been better. Hopefully the communities that signed petitions in favor of the management plan that was turned down can keep tabs on the situation until 2019. Click here to read the report, from Rhode Island Public Radio.  


Alana said...

I followed Artie on Instagram - I loved his pictures of the dolphins taken in October (sorry, I know this has nothing to do with your post). A lot of detail her. I don't know if I will ever get on a whale watching boat - I would need to take an anti seasickness pill that doesn't leave me a zombie (I have major problems with seasickness - I sometimes suffer from vertigo on dry land, too) but, again, it's a wonderful thing to read this online.

bonnie said...

Oh, the dolphins are all part of the fun! He gets such wonderful shots, I don't really try that hard to take pictures of the whales when I go out because I just know mine aren't going to be very good (I'm not actually looking through the viewfinder while I'm watching, and when a lunge or a spyhop or a breach happens, it's too fast for me to get the camera up and let in focus - I take a lot of pictures that are either out of focus or of a bubbly patch of water where a whale had been a moment ago) and his (or those of someone else with better gear) will be on the FB page soon.

Seasickness can be a serious problem on the American Princess - things can get pretty bouncy outside of the harbor. They generally don't sell out so it's usually possible to wait until the day before to see how the weather is going to be.

Haralee said...

Whales are incredible to see and of course being the scaredy cat I am, I prefer whale watching from shore! These pictures are outstanding!