Data: Right Whale satellite Tag

williams (williams@whale.simmons.edu)
Mon, 12 Feb 1996 14:43:51

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From: williams <williams@whale.simmons.edu>
Subject: Data: Right Whale satellite Tag
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Mapping Metompkin
Here are latitude and longitude coordinates of "Metompkin's" journey
since it was spotted on Jan. 6 through Feb. 3. See if you can follow
its movements. To make it easier to track here, the numbers below have
been rounded off to the nearest degree.
 
WhaleNet will be using 12 satellite Tags a year [in conjunction with
Scott Kraus and the Pelagic Research Lab at the New England Aquarium]
researching marine Mammals as part of the Satellite Tagging
Observation Program.  Check back and access the WhaleNet homepage at
http://whale.simmons.edu
 
Jan 6: 30 N, 81 W
 
Jan 11: 29 N, 81 W
 
Jan 15: 30 N, 81 W
 
Jan 17: 29 N, 80 W
 
Jan 19: 30 N, 81 W
 
Jan 20: 31 N, 81 W
 
Jan 21: 31 N, 80 W
 
Jan 22: 31 N, 80 W
 
Jan 23: 32 N, 79 W
 
Jan 24: 32 N, 79 W
 
Jan 30: 34 N, 75 W
 
Feb 3: 36 N, 71 W
 
Chris Slay of the New England Aquarium's right whale research group
has spotted what seems to be 8-10 calves so far this
season. Other sightings have included one or two adults often
accompanied by juveniles. These young whales are probably
between one and several years old, but are not calves.
 
Several mother-calf pairs have been observed nursing, and several of
the groups of adults and juveniles have been "Surface
Active Groups" This means they are displaying rolling, body contact,
and other kinds of courtship-type behaviors. Including
calves, Chris estimates there may be 50 or more right whales in the
southeast this winter. If you remember that there are only
about 320 northern right whales in this entire population -- that's a
significant portion! These recordings are made possible by
the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Georgia
Department of Natural Resources.
 
In addition to recording births and tracking entangled whales, the
right whale research group is also an important player in the
Early Warning System for shipping. This is a way to help whales and
ships whales avoid collisions.
 
Here's how it works: Aerial overflights from the two states give
spotters a chance to see potential threats to the whales from
commerical shipping and Navy vessels entering and leaving the busy
ports in the area. Chris reports that vessel movements in
the Mayport area appear to be on the increase as warships are
reassigned to the Naval Base there. When the aerial observers
sight a potential contact between ship and whale, they contact the
vessel directly via VHF radio. Within the course of one day
in January, the plane notified the Base about close approaches between
whales and one large naval vessel and two submarines!
 
Contributed by:
 
Anne Smrcina,Education Coordinator, Stellwagen Bank National Marine
Sanctuary