Entanglement hampers North Atlantic right whales’ conservation

Entanglement hampers North Atlantic right whales’ conservation

Though number of North Atlantic right whales gradually climbed from 300 in 1992 to about 500 in 2010, according to a new study babies born to right whales every year has fallen by around 40% since 2010.

North Atlantic right whales are endangered and their fragile fight to recover is hampered either by fishing gears that leave them trapped or by fall in birth rates, unveiled the study published in thejournal Frontiers in Marine Science. Study authors believe that entanglements in fishing gears have prolonged adverse physical and reproductive effects on the species.

According to study authors, despite the survival after entanglement in fishing gears, there still remains a concern about negative impacts of entanglements on North Atlantic right whales population. Entanglements can act against conservation efforts in the place.

“They are carrying heavy gear around, and they can’t move as fast or they can’t feed as effectively. And it looks like it affects their ability to reproduce because it means they can’t put on enough fat to have a baby,” said Study author Scott Kraus, a scientist with the New England Aquarium in Boston Kraus.

In recent years, entanglements were found to be more concerning than ship strikes for right whales population. From 1970 to 2009, entanglements led to the deaths of 35% of the whales, while 44% died because of ship strikes. However, the trend has changed significantly in recent years. From 2010 to 2015, 15% of diagnosed deaths were due to ship strikes, while 85% of such deaths were caused by entanglements.

Currently, Atlantic right whales are found in Canada waters off the Maritime Provinces and in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.


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