FINAL Humpback Whale Migration Update: May 9, 2001
Today's Report Includes:
Greetings from Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary
Most Humpbacks Heading North
The sightings in and around Cape Cod Bay lead us to believe that the whales are heading north into the Gulf of Maine in search of new food. Many humpbacks have been sighted so far this season. For a complete and up to date list of the whales sighted, visit the Center for Coastal Studies Web page.
Summertime Sanctuary Safety
The Sanctuary is making efforts to protect feeding whales when and if they visit the Stellwagen Bank this summer. A joint federal-state partnership begins regular law enforcement patrols, the first of which went out Friday, May 11.
For the first time, Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) patrol boats will provide a visible presence in the Sanctuary, particularly on busy weekend days when commercial and recreational boats jockey for position around local whales. MEP officers are cross-deputized to work in federal waters, and can enforce federal environmental regulations, particularly ones to protect endangered marine mammals and other Sanctuary resources.
This cooperative effort between the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, the Massachusetts Environmental Police, and the NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement will serve to educate the boating public while documenting Sanctuary uses and will provide a regular marine "cop on the beat" to enforce Sanctuary regulations.
"See A Spout, Watch Out"
The Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary will also be actively promoting a new boating safety program entitled "See A Spout, Watch Out" during the patrols and at other venues where boaters are present. This outreach effort has been developed in conjunction with the International Wildlife Coalition of Falmouth, MA and is a key component of the Sanctuary's overall interpretive enforcement effort. The campaign features four easy to remember safety tips to keep you and whales safe.
To review the material, please visit the IWC web site.
Pelican Family Birds-Discussion of Challenge Question #17
Whalewatching groups often see gannets, the largest seabird found in the Cape Cod Bay area. This bird is classified in the Pelican family (Pelicaniformes). Last update we asked, "The northern gannet is only one bird in the Pelican family. What are some other birds found in this family?"
Seventh Graders, Khuon, Sean and Michael at Iselin Middle School came up with an impressive list! The shared, "Other birds that are found in the Pelican family are the American White Pelican, Brown Pelican, the Brown Booby, the Red-Footed Booby, Masked Booby, and the Blue-footed Booby."
But don't forget the Magnificent Frigatebird, the Cormorants and unusual Anhingas!
Whale Passes Through the Strait of Gibraltar-Challenge Question #18
A humpback, measuring about 35 feet sighted off the coast of Greece! This sighting is one of only a few ever documented in the protected Mediterranean Sea! We challenged you to learn some new things about this far away place. Where is the Strait of Gibraltar and what are its physical characteristics? For Challenge Question #18 we asked you, "The Strait of Gibraltar is a rather narrow opening into the Mediterranean. How wide is the opening and what is its greatest depth?"
The National Geographic Atlas map of that region between southern Spain and northern Morocco shows that the distance across at the closest point is about 15 km or about 9 miles. This strait, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, has variable depths. While the depth is variable, the deepest part of the strait is about 1000 meters deep, and a good deal of the bottom is at about 600 meters below sea level. Although it is a narrow opening, it is possible for a humpback whale to pass through. A whale swimming in close proximity might be attracted to the flow of water which is affected by both tidal flow and wave action through the strait.
A Big Thank You!
We couldn't bring you accurate whale news without the help of Anne Smrcina in the northern feeding grounds at Stellwagen Bank. Thank you Anne, for finding the time in your busy schedule to keep us informed!
Stellwagen Has New Web Site- Come Visit!
Be sure to check out the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary's new web site, with information about Sanctuary whales, fish and other species. We hope to expand our sections on personal experiences in the Sanctuary and art/poetry about marine resources, so send us your contributions. You may find your work published on the web!
Our address is: http://stellwagen.nos.noaa.gov.
This nautical term, "Bravo Zulu," is a naval signal, conveyed by flaghoist or voice radio, meaning "well done." We say this to YOU, the Journey North students who, by getting involved with the fight for the survival of this endangered species, deserve a big thank you from the whales.
Year-End Evaluation: We'd Appreciate Your Thoughts!
Please take a few minutes to share your suggestions and comments in our Year-End Evaluation Form below. The information you provide at the end of each year is the single most important tool used to guide our planning.
This is the FINAL Humpback Whale Migration Update for 2001. We hope you have enjoyed learning about these endangered marine mammals this spring. Have a great summer! Thanks for your participation.
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