Posted by: The ocean update | June 1, 2019

More than 140 grey whales have died off North America’s west coast this year and nobody knows why (Canada, USA, Mexico)

The Pacific Ocean’s grey whale was once hunted to the edge of extinction but the species has recovered in recent years and now numbers around 27,000. RENACAL1 / GETTY IMAGES

May 31st, 2019 (Travis Lupick). A number of grey whales have died and washed ashore in B.C. this year.

Dozens more have similarly ended up beached on the coasts of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California during the same period.

And on the west coast of Mexico, yet more.

Nobody knows how the 147 large marine mammals have died during just the last five months (December 17, 2018, to May 27, 2019).

Now the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has declared the deaths an “unusual mortality event” (UME) and announced its scientists will investigate the matter.

“The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) defines a UME as a stranding event that is unexpected, involves a significant die-off, and demands immediate response,” reads May 30 NOAA media release.

“Given the increased strandings, NOAA Fisheries convened a UME Working Group of marine mammal experts to assess seven criteria to determine whether a UME should be declared, as outlined in the MMPA.

“The working group members include experts from scientific and academic institutions, conservation organizations, and state and federal agencies who work closely with stranding networks and have a wide variety of experience in biology, toxicology, pathology, ecology, and epidemiology,” it continues.

NOAA staff will coordinate their investigation with counterparts in Canada as well as Mexico, according to the release.

“Each spring eastern North Pacific gray whales migrate 10,000 miles or more along the West Coast from winter waters in Mexico where they give birth to summer feeding grounds in the Arctic off Alaska,” NOAA explains.

The gray whale migrates between its summer feeding grounds in the North Pacific and Bering Sea and its winter breeding grounds in the lagoons of Baja California. (NASA image edited by GA)

“The whales rely largely on their summer feeding in the Arctic to last them throughout the year because they do not feed extensively while migrating or wintering in Mexico. Many gray whales that have stranded this year during their northbound migration have been skinny and malnourished, with some showing signs of emaciation.

“That suggests that some whales may be exhausting their energy reserves this year before they reach the Arctic to resume feeding, researchers say,” the release adds.

Reaching weights of 36 tonnes, the grey whale is one of the largest animals on Earth (but only half the size of the blue whale).

It was once at risk of extinction but has recovered in recent decades. The grey whale was removed from the United States’ government’s endangered species list in 1994. NOAA estimates some 27,000 live off North America’s west coast.

The research organization’s investigation will focus on learning possible causes of the strandings. It will also make additional resources available for NOAA staff to respond to grey whale deaths as they continue to occur.

National oceanic and atmospheric administration

Ed Sibylline : in the same time, thousand of seabirds starved to death in the Bering sea (link)

Nineteen tufted puffins found on St. Paul Island in Alaska in October 2016. (Courtesy of Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Ecosystem Conservation Office)

Because the death toll is not sufficient : Navy plans extensive training in Pacific Northwest. Here’s how many animals could be hurt (link)

Via Maryann : You have until June 12 2019 to voice your opinion about the Navy receiving permits to play war….If you do not voice your opinion..Do not cry when whales and marine mammals show up dead on your beach..Do not freak out and then try to stop something..TO STOP SOMETHING..YOU DO IT BEFORE A PERMIT IS ISSUED..Last time permits were issued for the current war games a little under 800 comments were received..That is RIDICULOUS..How many people Advocate for the Ocean and its Life ????..USE YOUR VOICE..READ, LEARN, AND SPEAK UP BEFORE PERMITS ARE ISSUED TO KILL

Participate following this linkhttps://www.nwtteis.com/Public-Involvement/Public-Comment

And what about the Makah tribe whishes to slaughter Gray whales ?

Makah reservation could resume whale hunts under federal proposal (Washington state, USA)

NB : if you read something about the theory of climate change, a theory is not a conclusion, it’s an hypothesis.

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