In this log from the Voyage of the Odyssey Genevieve Johnson wrote about the attempt to pin the cause of dwindling fish stocks on whales.
Dr. Seiji Ohsumi, Director of the Cetacean Research Institute (ICR), Japan’s major institute for whale studies, co-authored a paper entitled Estimation of total food consumption by cetaceans in the world’s oceans. This often quoted “scientific” source received no peer review. (How do I know this? Because if it had, it would have been torn to pieces by other scientists.) Nonetheless, it’s used as the “scientific” rationale for a new diplomatic offensive Japan is mounting which attempts to make the world regard whales as greedy competitors to humans for fish from the sea. On November 17, 2000, Dr Ohsumi said that the need for Japan to carry out “scientific” whaling was because:
- “Until recently, the question of ‘what and how much whales are eating’ has not been taken up as a subject for discussion, but we find it now necessary to deal with the issue.”
This is spectacular nonsense (I think that’s the appropriate technical term). Read More
Researchers are discovering that earwax from whales can hold valuable information from their lifetime, including their toxic load. A new article from National Geographic.com explains this newly emerging science, including the opinion of Dr. John Wise on the value of the data. Check out the fascinating article here.
The documentary “Blackfish” is receiving the kind of buzz we haven’t heard since the release of “The Cove,” which ended up winning the Oscar for Best Documentary. So we’re very pleased to say it’s coming to Gloucester for a one-night-only screening to benefit Ocean Alliance. Read More
BLOG 7 September 6, 2013
An amazing day today!
Just after the airflight team left to survey the whales, the rising sun created a beautiful rainbow that arched over the cliff-top observation site and appeared to land in the water directly in front of whale camp. After a dousing rain, I hiked to the cliffs and found a spot protected from the strong wind behind a broad bush to leave my backpack full of gear. Just as I dropped my pack I heard a loud blow beneath me and quickly unpacked the camera to take identification photographs of the white markings on the head of the whale that was passing by. What followed was amazing!! Read More
BLOG 6 – September 2013 – Research Station in Península Valdés
I make “focal animal follows” of mothers and their calves to determine the amount of time they spend in high and low energy behaviors. The Península Valdés right whales have a big problem. An unusually high number of calves have died on this calving ground since 2005. Read More
BLOG 5 – September 2013 – Research Station in Península Valdés
Whenever the wind is not blowing too hard, I spend my time on the cliffs of Península Valdés watching mother/calf pairs as they pass beneath me on their way to and from camp bay. I choose a mother/calf pair that is swimming along the coast towards me and continuously record the behavior of each whale until they pass out of sight. “Focal animal follows” are a wonderful way to get to know individual whales and learn how they spend their day. Read More
In this Marvin Windows video Ocean Alliance CEO Iain Kerr and Gloucester builder Geoffrey Richon explain the challenges of renovating a historic building exposed to everything a New England winter can throw at it. We’re very grateful to AW Hastings for their generosity throughout this project. Enjoy the tour of this Gloucester icon.
BLOG 4 – 1 September 2013 – at the Research Station in Península Valdés
We spent the day recording behavioral data from the cliffs. Vicky records the behavior of right whale mothers and calves, and their respiration rate as a way to estimate their body condition. I began our annual monitoring of the frequency of gull attacks on the whales. Kelp gulls have learned to feed on the skin and blubber of live whales at Península Valdés. The gulls land and peck on the back of the whales, opening lesions and affecting the whales’ behavior. Read More
BLOG 3 – 30 August 2013 – from Península Valdés
We spent a good part of this week at technical meetings and running errands in Puerto Madryn, the city nearest to Península Valdés. It is now 6:30 PM on a calm afternoon. As I write this, I am sitting in the truck in the middle of nowhere, looking at the endless shrubland around me, while a family of guanacos (the South American camels) walks slowly among the thorny bushes. We drove to this particular spot because it is one of the few “high” places where we can get cell phone signal to connect to the outside world, send and receive messages, make phone calls… and wait for a friend. Read More
BLOG 2 – 27 August 2013 – from Península Valdés
Diego and I drove 17 hours and arrived to Whale Camp at 1 am last night. I have always enjoyed the changes in the landscape as we drive from the big city of Buenos Aires across the pampas to enter the unending plains of this side of Patagonia in southern Argentina. Read More