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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Signs of fewer ship strikes on endangered whales

Scientist says initiatives in the U.S. and Canada to divert ships or slow vessels down could be succeeding

Lubec, Maine — The Canadian Press Published in Globe and Mail on Thursday, Aug. 05, 2010 7:38AM EDT

Measures meant to stem the demise of one of the world's most endangered marine mammals appear to be working.

One scientist studying North Atlantic right whales says there are early signs fewer of the animals are dying from ship strikes.

It's been estimated that about two whales are killed every year when they are hit by boats that cruise through their transit route.

It stretches from breeding grounds off Florida and Georgia and up to the Bay of Fundy, where many feed in the summer months.

Amy Knowlton of the New England Aquarium says preliminary numbers suggest initiatives in the U.S. and Canada to divert ships around the whales or slow vessels down could be succeeding.

Ms. Knowlton says there has been one fatality linked to a ship strike since 2008.

But while scientists are cautiously optimistic the measures are helping, they say whales are still dying from entanglements in fishing line.

There are 430 whales remaining worldwide.

Image from Flickr.

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