Marine Heat Wave Linked to Sharp Increase in Whale Entanglements

Marine Heat Wave Linked to Sharp Increase in Whale Entanglements


Humpback whale breaching shows line entanglement through mouth, around left pectoral flipper, with trailing towards tail. Photo: Mark Girardeau. NMFS MMHSRP.
In 2018, entanglements were reported throughout the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California, but were concentrated in central and southern California. However, entanglement report locations may not reflect where the entanglement originally occurred. Captions and Photo source: NOAA

Excerpts;

An ocean heat wave off the U.S. West Coast from 2014 to 2016 drove humpback whales into a narrow band of cooler water, leading to a dramatic increase in whale entanglements with crab-fishing gear, according to a new study.

The large expanse of warm water off the West Coast drove the prey, and the whales, into a much smaller area of cool water near the coast, where Dungeness crab fishermen place much of their gear. As a result, confirmed whale entanglements rose from 10 in 2014 to 53 in 2015 and 55 in 2016, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Communications…

Read Full Article, Yale E360 (01-28-2020)

Plastic Pollution: When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide, By Claire Le Guern – ©
“According to NOAA, plastic debris kills an estimated 100,000 marine mammals annually, millions of birds and fishes. The largest pieces of marine plastic debris, miles long discarded fishing nets and lines mostly, take an obvious toll on animals. These derelicts nets, called “ghost nets”, snare and drown thousands of larger sea creatures per year, such as seals, sea lions, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, dugons, crocodiles, seabirds, crabs, and other creatures. Acting as designed, these nets restrict movement causing starvation, laceration, infection, and, in animals that need to return to the surface to breathe, suffocation.”

Ghost netting: Image emerges of decomposed turtle wrapped in plastic net; The Independent (08-18-2018)
Pictures taken from the upcoming environmental film Blue, which will be shown at the Ocean Film Festival UK & Ireland Tour, show the horrific effects of plastic pollution and ghost nets on marine life and the world’s oceans…

New UN report finds marine debris harming more than 800 species, costing countries millions; United Nations (12-05-2016)
Marine debris is negatively affecting more than 800 animal species and causing serious losses to many countries’ economies, according to a United Nations report launched December 5th, 2016…

West Coast Large Whale Entanglement Response Program; NOAA

Scientists alarmed to discover warm water at vital point beneath Antarctica’s doomsday glacier, CBS News (02-01-2020)
Scientists have found for the first time, warm water beneath Antarctica’s “doomsday glacier,” a nickname used because it is one of Antarctica’s fastest melting glaciers…

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