Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Positive news in latest whale numbers

Positive news in latest whale numbers

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith welcomed the results from the latest Cook Strait Whale Project survey which concluded today and showed the second highest number of humpback whale sightings on record.

“Ninety-two whale sightings this year is good news. It is the second highest to the 106 sighted in 2012 and compares to an average of 66 over the past six years where we have carried out a four-week survey. These findings will be useful in informing and determining the conservation status of the humpback whale species,” Dr Smith says.

The Cook Strait Whale Project is carried out by the Department of Conservation (DOC) to assess the recovery of the humpback whale species since the end of commercial whaling in New Zealand in 1964. The four-week survey is timed for the whales’ annual migration from Antarctic waters to their breeding grounds in the South Pacific. This year’s survey is the 11th in the ongoing series. The species’ recovery will be assessed by comparing the numbers seen in the survey with whaling station humpback records from the 1950s and early 1960s.

“The findings to date indicate the New Zealand humpback population is increasing but slowly. The research project is still gathering data and further analysis is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn. A data series over a long period is needed to draw firm conclusions,” Dr Smith says.

“The research team noted some unusual behaviour amongst humpbacks this year including more sea surface activity and more milling around. It is thought this might be due to the warmer than normal sea temperatures that have been reported this winter.

“The team also collected 41 skin samples using a biopsy dart tool and took 38 photos of individual whales. The skin samples will assist in assessing the humpback population size and links with humpbacks seen elsewhere in the South Pacific as well as providing genetic information.

“The survey also collects information on other whale species seen which this year included a blue whale and a pod of orca and also several sperm whale sightings. Sightings of blue whales have become more commonplace which is an encouraging indication their population is also increasing.

“Commercial and community partnerships play a key part in the Cook Strait Whale Project. It would not be possible without OMV New Zealand Limited’s partnership with DOC. The project also has strong support from the Marlborough community, Transact Management Ltd, the Bell Tea & Coffee Company, Canon New Zealand Ltd and the University of Auckland.

“A feature of this annual survey is the lead role of six former whalers in the spotting work. Their transformation from whale cullers to whale conservationists is illustrative of the change in community values towards these iconic marine animals.

“Whales were slaughtered in appalling numbers in New Zealand waters throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. It is great news to see our conservation effort are paying off with these improved sightings but with a slow breeding cycle we would expect it to take many decades for their populations to fully recover,” Dr Smith concluded.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Road Crime: Wicked Campers Vans Classified As Objectionable

The definition of publication includes any "thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words", The Classification Office has previously classified such 'things' as billboards, t-shirts, and even a drink can. This is the first time the Classification Office has classified a vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

'When New' Repairs: Landmark EQC Settlement

The Earthquake Commission has cut a deal with 98 Canterbury homeowners that affirms the government entity's responsibility to repair earthquake-damaged property to a 'when new' state, as well as covering repairs for undamaged parts of a property and clarifying its position on cash settlement calculations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Kiwirail’s Latest Stint In The Dogbox

The denigration of Kiwirail continues. The latest review (based on a 2014 assessment) of the options facing the company have enabled Kiwirail to be hung out to dry once again as a liability and burden on the taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society Report: Good Opportunities To Act Now On Climate Change

There are many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy, a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news