Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Warehouse Sale

When whales and oil rigs meet

by Rob Jordan on 10 Feb 2014
Whales tails - numbers are gradually growing .. .

Humpback whales, ocean-going giants, face threats from offshore oil platforms and related infrastructure, according to a study that also revealed new secrets about the whales' migration patterns.

When you are 50 feet long and weigh more than 40 tons – the maximum allowed weight on most U.S. highways – you need a lot of space to move around.

Humpback whales, still recovering from whaling that wiped out as much as 90 percent of their global population, are confronted with new challenges caused by hydrocarbon extraction, shipping routes, and ocean-based pollutants, according to a study co-authored by Sara Maxwell, a biology postdoctoral scholar affiliated with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

The study, published Feb. 5 in the journal Conservation Biology, finds that humpback whales migrating from breeding grounds off the coast of Africa must navigate past offshore oil and gas rigs, vessels in shipping lanes, and encounter the potentially harmful toxicants that accompany them.

'Knowing not just where animals are going, but what kind of human activities and potential threats they are facing gives us insight into how we can effectively help them while still maintaining the services that we as humans rely on in the ocean,' Maxwell said.

Using satellite tags, the researchers tracked 15 whales’ massive journeys, some more than 4,970 miles, between sub-Antarctic feeding grounds and African near-shore breeding grounds, among other areas.

The whales spent the most time in the national waters of Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria and Angola, areas overlapped with offshore hydrocarbon operations and major shipping lanes. Overall, the whales spent an estimated 41.4 percent of the study period near oil and gas platforms. They spent nearly 76 percent of their time within 200 miles of the coast, a zone in which individual countries have rights granted by international law over the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production.

Data on certain impacts on whales in this region is limited, but there is extensive evidence of ships striking whales off the California coast, where numerous programs have been put in place to mitigate the problem, Maxwell said.

'There are indications that oil production in these coastal regions has and will increase in the coming years,' said study lead author Howard Rosenbaum, director of the Wildlife Conservations Society’s Ocean Giants program. 'So gaining a better understanding of the movements of whales and quantifying the degree of overlap with anthropogenic activities will help assess the potential risks to this population, and identify mitigation strategies that should be considered to better protect whales.'

The satellite data contained some surprising results: While several whales predictably remained in the offshore waters of Gabon or traveled south, nearly half of the tagged group (including two females with calves) moved north into a previously unknown part of the breeding range for humpbacks off the coast of Gabon.

While migration patterns of humpbacks have been the subject of extensive study in other ocean basins and regions, the direct movements of humpbacks along the western African coast in the eastern South Atlantic have only recently come to light. The study’s discovery prompted Maxwell to say, 'We are still in an age of discovery when it comes to these ocean giants.'

Pantaenius - Fixed ValueHall Spars - MastInSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

The Green Blue supports call on UK Government to ban microbeads
Microbeads can be used in medicine for a range of treatments, but do we really need in face wash and other body scrubs? Microbeads can be used in medicine for a range of treatments, but do we really need them in face wash and other body scrubs?
Posted today at 12:01 am
Rio official murdered ten months before the Olympics
Rio de Janeiro is a troubled city and a reeling Olympic host, but it will always have beautiful Guanabara Bay. Does an unsolved murder of an official in Rio in charge of cleaning up Guanabara Bay say a lot about the state of platy in the magical city? Priscilla Pereira was murdered 10 months ago and the thinking is that she was murdered in relation to her work
Posted on 31 Jul
WHO statement on Zika virus
The third meeting of the EC convened by the Director-General under IHR 2005 regarding microcephaly and Zika virus The third meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005) regarding microcephaly, other neurological disorders and Zika virus was held by teleconference on 14 June 2016, from 13:00 to 17:15 Central European Time.
Posted on 16 Jun
Zika virus situation report
From 1 January 2007 to 16 March 2016, Zika virus transmission was documented in a total of 59 countries and territories. From 1 January 2007 to 16 March 2016, Zika virus transmission was documented in a total of 59 countries and territories. Cuba and Dominica are the latest to report autochthonous (local) transmission of Zika virus on 14 and 15 March, respectively. Five of these countries and territories reported a Zika virus outbreak that is now over.
Posted on 2 Apr
Cyclone Winston Relief Fund – Help the people of Fiji
Sea Mercy is sending volunteer fleet of small and large vessels, loaded with shelter, food and medical supplies to Fiji. Sea Mercy is once again sending our volunteer fleet of small and large vessels, loaded with shelter, food, water and medical supplies and teams to Fiji.
Posted on 27 Feb
Land Rover BAR partners with Seabin to clean the oceans + Video
Recent research shows that between 5m and 12m tonnes of plastic find their way into the ocean every year. Recent research shows that between 5m and 12m tonnes of plastic find their way into the ocean every year. This is adding rapidly to the five trillion pieces - weighing around 270,000 tonnes - that are calculated to already be polluting the world's seas and oceans. Some estimates show that by 2050 the weight of plastic is likely to outweigh that of fish.
Posted on 23 Feb
Eco-warriors Sea-Bin crowd sharing critical stage with nine days to go
The automated marina cleaning SeaBin project has raised 86% of their target with 9 days left. The automated marina cleaning SeaBin project has raised $198,020 of $230,000.00 with nine days left on their Indiegogo crowdfunding platform, but they need more help now.
Posted on 29 Dec 2015
Don’t be a Tosser – Not your usual environmental article!!
The word ‘Tosser’ in the Oxford English dictionary means – ‘a person or thing that throws something’. The word ‘Tosser’ in the Oxford English dictionary means – ‘a person or thing that throws something’. There is no need for me to tell you the other meaning that is commonly used around the world. However in this article it will refer to both at the same time as someone who tosses trash into the ocean, truly is a tosser.
Posted on 3 Dec 2015
Warming ocean worsened Australia’s fatal 2010/2011 floods
Researchers shows that warming of Indian and Pacific oceans played a role in increasing the risk of floods in 2010/2011 A study by a team of U.S. and Australian researchers shows that long-term warming of the Indian and Pacific oceans played an important role in increasing the risk of the kind of devastating floods that struck Australia in 2010/2011.
Posted on 21 Nov 2015
Pay attention, YOU can make a difference to the marine environment!!
THIS is a life exam subject and when you reach the Pearly Gates, your results today will count towards your destination OK, Sit up and pay attention, THIS is a life exam subject and when you reach the Pearly Gates, your results today will count towards your final destination
Posted on 16 Nov 2015