2010-2011 Right Whale Results

April 4, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2010-2011 Right Whale Results
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The 2010-2011 North Atlantic right whale season in northeast Florida/southeast Georgia has ended, so I want to provide an update about the whales that have come to this area every year at this time, and has done so since before humans could say ocean.

Because they spend lots of time at the surface, move slowly, and float when dead, early American whalers dubbed them the “right whale” to kill. One time numbering over 10,000, there are an estimated 450 right whales left today. With hunting of the animal illegal since 1935, their primary cause of mortality (over 50%) now is human impact, specifically ship strike (~40%) and commercial fishing gear entanglement(~10%).

From January to mid-March right whales can be seen from shore at vantage points along the Atlantic coast, but especially in St. johns, Flagler and Volusia Counties. Right whales come close to shore and can be seen with the naked eye within 1000 feet of the coast. Remember, though, federal law requires humans to stay 500 yards from these whales. This protects the whales and inquiring humans who can easily be injured by a protective adult or playful adolescent whale.

The 2010-2011 season, largely created by the need for pregnant females to give birth to calves in a temporate and relatively shallow ocean, also saw a variety of juveniles, non-pregnant adult females and a few adult males. Twenty calves were born this year, plus there were about 120 additional right whales observed by aerial, land-based and boat crews.

While not a banner year for births like the 2008-2009 season, and despite some unfortunate deaths of both adults and calves, this year still helped the species with a net plus gain.

If you have topics you’d like to know more about, let me know and I’ll work up something for a future blog.

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Marine Life Series

April 9, 2009 at 11:48 am | Posted in Forthcoming Books | Comments Off on Marine Life Series
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Our “Marine Life Series” of nonfiction books is in production now, with three books underway. Sea Turtles at Risk , scheduled for a June 1, 2009 release, will examine the natural and human threats to loggerheads, greens, leatherbacks, Kemp’s ridleys, and hawksbills. Emphasis will focus on the role citizen volunteers play in helping to protect and preserve sea turtles, with special attention on the Volusia-Flagler Turtle Patrol in Florida.

The next two titles in the “Marine Life Series” will focus on North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) and bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), again with examination of volunteer efforts for both species.

Subsequent books in the Series will feature sharks, rays, manatees, jellyfish, crustaceans and other sea creatures, all presented with color photographs and in understandable and vivid terms suitable for both adult and young adult readers.

Our expectation is that our “Marine Life Series” will become the foundation for all those who seek a clear understanding of the oceans,  the roles played by all species, and the importance of their protection for the future.

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