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Sunday, January 5, 2014
Tourist Boats Operated by Anti-Superferry Activists Hitting More Baby Whales Than Ever
By Andrew Walden @ 3:26 AM :: 8262 Views :: Maui County, Environment, Hawaii Statistics, Tourism

Tourist Boats Operated by Anti-Superferry Activists Hitting More Baby Whales Than Ever

by Andrew Walden

UH Manoa researchers studying whale strikes in Hawaiian waters over a 37 year period have discovered that the whale-watching, snorkel and dive tour industries pose a serious and sharply increasing threat to whales, especially juvenile whales, wintering off of Maui.  

While reading their analysis (below) keep in mind that the whale watch tour operators from the 'Pacific Whale Institute' protested against the Superferry claiming it would pose a danger to whales.  Then also consider the fact that  dive tour operators are protesting against aquarium collectors.  According to this scientific study, it is the protesters themselves who are guilty of the crimes they are protesting against.  The Superferry was powered by water jets, not propellers.  It is the protesters, grasping for filthy lucre, who are viciously slicing into whale calves with their primitive propeller driven tour boats. 

After being run over by the anti-Superferry protesters, the bleeding baby whales are left to suffer an unknown fate in shark-infested waters.

Does the sharp increase in baby whales bloodied offshore by money grubbing anti-Superferry protesters correlate with the increase in shark attacks on humans?  The report does not address this troubling question.

  *   *   *   *   *

Trends in collisions between vessels and North Pacific humpback whales in Hawaiian waters (1975–2011)

by Marc O. Lammers, Assistant researcher in marine bioacoustics and Cetacean behavior, University of Hawaii Manoa

...Thirty seven years of historical records were examined for evidence of vessel collisions with humpback whales in the main Hawaiian Islands. Between 1975 and 2011, 68 collisions between vessels and whales were reported including 59 witnessed collisions and 9 observed whale injuries that were consistent with a recent vessel collision....

The waters between Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe, which are known to have one of the highest concentrations of humpback whales in the Hawaiian Islands, had the highest incidence of collisions. Over 63% of the collisions involved calves and subadults, suggesting a greater susceptibility towards collisions among younger animals.

The rate of collisions increased significantly over the final twelve breeding seasons of the study and was greater than predicted by the estimated annual increase in the whale population, suggesting that the rising number of reported collisions cannot be explained solely by the annual increase in whale abundance.

Although the total number of registered vessels and shipping traffic in Hawaii remained relatively constant between 2000 and 2010, there was a significant increase in the number of vessels between 7.9m and 19.8m in length. Vessels within this size range were also the most commonly involved in collisions during the study period, accounting for approximately two thirds of recorded incidents.

It is concluded that from 1975–2011, there was a significant increase in reports of non-lethal collisions between vessels and humpback whales, especially calves and subadults, in the main Hawaiian Islands that likely reflects a combination of factors including the recovery of the population of North Pacific humpback whales, increases in traffic of particular vessel types, and increased reporting practices by operators of vessels....

The type of vessel was reported in 56 witnessed collisions. The majority of collisions (61%, n = 34) involved tour vessels (e.g. whale watching, diving, snorkeling;)....

The majority of reported incidents occurred in waters in the Maui Nui region, a relatively shallow (< 200m depth) area with one of the densest aggregations of humpback whales in the Hawaiian Islands. This is also an area of high vessel concentration, especially during whale watching months. The majority of incidences over the past five years in which the vessel type was specified involved commercial whale watching vessels. This could simply reflect a greater likelihood that a collision with a whale watching vessel carrying passengers will be reported. Alternatively, it may indicate that tour vessels that regularly operate in whale-dense areas or in the proximity of whales, and specifically seek out whales for close approach and observation, may be more prone to collisions....

...For humpback whales in Hawaiian waters, over half of the incidents in which the age class of the whale was specified involved either a calf or a juvenile. This may not be surprising as calves spend more time at the surface to breathe than adults, will often surface without the mother if the pod is stationary, are less visible than adults, and are relatively naïve to interactions with vessels (Glockner and Venus, 1983). Silber et al. (2010) showed that whales submerged by only one or two times a vessel’s draft, which is typical for calves, experience a pronounced propeller suction effect, drawing them toward the hull, and thereby increasing the probability of a propeller strike.

Finally, no cases of whale carcasses pinned to the bow of ships were reported in Hawaii during the period examined....  In Hawaii, it appears the majority of vessels involved in collisions are small to medium sized boats less than 21.2m in length. The lack of incidents reported involving large ships is somewhat curious, but perhaps indicates that presently established shipping lanes are not a major problem in this regard....

read ... Full Text of Report

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