man vs whales

From: Jennifer Philips (jphilips@hawaii.edu)
Date: Fri May 04 2001 - 16:55:55 EDT


My question is:
I would like to gain information in connection with the above subject.
What impact man had/has on the existence and survival of the rigt whale for
example?

Thanks

Lindie

-----------------

Lindie,

The obvious negative impact of humans on whales has been whaling. Before it
was essentially banned by the IWC, whaling activities by the industrialized
countries of the world drove most species of whales to near extinction.
Banning whaling was the only means by which whales could be prevented from
disappearing all together. Today, although a couple countries continue to
hunt whales in relatively small numbers, some species are beginning to
slowly recover. The right whale, including both the northern and southern
forms, and the bowhead whale are the most severely depleted with mere
hundred's left in the wild. Their recovery has been hampered in part, we
believe, by an incredibly slow reproductive cycle and in part by continued
human impact. Fishing activities in the Northwest Atlantic, for example,
have a large potential for disturbing and often harming (or even killing)
right whales who are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Protection
measures, and much reasearch effort, are in place to help protect the few
remaining right whales from continued human encroachment. Anthropogenic
noise (that is, noise generated by human activities, such as drilling,
geological surveys, shipping, and naval excercises) is another potential
pressure that humans place on whales. Because whales have evolved to depend
so completely on sound for communication and navigation, noise generated by
us has the potential to disturb and, in certain cases, harm them. Noise
pollution is currently a major area of investigation for government bodies
and scientists.

For more information of this rather broad topic, I recommend taking a look
at the Whalenet site - the "How to Find" site will give you tips on finding
what you are looking for (http://whale.wheelock.edu/howtofind.html).

Thank you for your question,
Jen Philips



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