A whale sized recovery for the humpback whale

This week we saw some really uplifting news in the whale world. The US government announced that they were removing almost all of the world’s humpback whale populations from the endangered species list. To be precise NOAA Fisheries stated in a press release on September 6th that humpback whales in 9 of 14 newly identified distinct populations have recovered enough that they don’t warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act.

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Watching polar bears watching you

A new study is published on polar bear behaviour near ice breaker operations.

Today is Arctic Sea Ice Day. When we think of the Arctic the polar bear is one of the first species we think of. It is an iconic Arctic species but one that is threatened by sea ice loss. The Arctic has experienced record lows in sea ice over recent years. This June set yet another record low for Arctic sea ice extent. The National Snow and Ice Data Centre in the United States reported the sea ice to average a mere 10.6 million square kilometers in June. This may sound like a lot but it is the lowest average sea ice extent for the month of June since the Centre’s records began in 1979.

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NOAA Releases Draft Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap

 

This month we were really excited to see the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) release their draft Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap for public comment. This is the first coordinated initiative by the US regulator to address issues of man-made noise in the oceans. And, SMRU Consulting is already collaborating on this novel effort as NOAA are currently assessing our (interim) Population Consequences of Disturbance (PCOD) framework to assess impacts of noise on Cook Inlet Beluga (more on this later!).

Check out the Ocean Noise Strategy efforts and the recently released Roadmap here. Public comments on the draft Roadmap are welcomed by NOAA until July 1, 2016.

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Opportunity sites are ocean optimism sites

Scientists have identified ‘opportunity sites’ for protecting marine mammals from ocean noise in the coastal waters of British Columbia. The team from SMRU, Oceans Initiative, Curtin University, and Cornell University has highlighted the importance of protecting habitats that experience low levels of shipping noise.

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Ocean noise: how loud is too loud for bowhead whales?

Bowhead whales are a highly adapted species, living in the cold waters of the Arctic and subarctic oceans of the northern hemisphere. They are members of the right whale family and are the longest living marine mammals in the world – some have been found to be over 200 years old! Bowhead whales face a variety of threats including ocean pollution, decreasing sea ice, and increasing ocean noise as interest in Arctic shipping and drilling continues to grow.

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Avoiding High Frequency Vessel Noise on Porpoise

A new paper in published in Nature has found that harbour porpoises react to low levels of high frequency vessel noise. Odontocetes (toothed whales, dolphins, and porpoises) in particular rely heavily on the propagation of underwater sound for essential life functions including communication, navigation, and foraging.

OCEAN NOISE IS ON THE RISE and it’s important to determine the impacts of these changing conditions on cetacean populations.

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