Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Unusual whale strandings prompt urgent call

Unusual whale strandings prompt urgent call for autopsies

During the height of Kiwi Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations there have been several whale strandings and unusual sightings. Unusual because: these incidents involve multiple species – baleen and toothed. Because Sperm whales and several species of Beaked whales have been close inshore when they generally live their whole lives in waters over a kilometer deep.

Alarm bells ring as this coincides with the largest activity of intensive seismic surveying ever seen in New Zealand waters occurring on both sides of the Cook Strait right now.

Sea Shepherd requests autopsies be undertaken before DOC buries these whales and gets rid of potential evidence. Iwi have full rights to demand necropsies in order to establish cause of death and gather important scientific conclusions. We offer them all our support.

Both oil exploration companies need to be held accountable for funding the necropsies on the Sperm whale stranding in Nelson, and the extremely rare fresh Shepherd’s Beaked whale stranding off Timaru, as per governmental agreements and best practice.

“It shouldn’t be up to scientists, iwi, NGOs and the people of New Zealand to have to kick up a stink to ensure this happens. It should be a given,” says Michael Lawry, Sea Shepherd NZ Director.

Amazon Warrior, the largest seismic testing ship in the world, has been blasting off the East Coast since November 13, 2016.

PGS is currently seismic surveying in the South Taranaki Bight - a recovering breeding and feeding ground for Blue whales - have stated they will “consider covering the cost of necropsies in the event of a stranding for a seismic operation”. PGS readily admits they are a risk to marine mammals.

Professor Liz Slooten from Otago University says, ”Even if it’s not the seismic blasting causing these whales to strand, given the unusual species observed, accusations towards the oil exploration companies will likely escalate. They need to get on board, assist DOC and fund the research. It’s outrageous these systems aren’t already in place.”

“Whales are taonga, our treasures. A stranding is a tohu, a sign. We all love whales. It’s important to utilise available science to know what caused their death, so we can prevent more. We owe them this much.” says Gemma McGrath, Independent Consultant and former WhaleWatch Kaikoura Senior Guide. “Sperm whale strandings also need to be co-ordinated fully to see how they match with the Kaikoura photo-ID catalogue”.

Everyone agrees: Systems should already be in place to adequately respond to stranding events possibly linked to seismic operations. Regional teams capable of carrying out autopsies need to be set up, trained and ready to respond to future strandings. Burying the evidence is simply not acceptable. Let this be the last whale to go uninvestigated.

Strandings
• Sperm whale stranded Nelson 30th December. Young fully grown male. No necropsy planned however local Iwi have the rights to request one urgently.
• Shepherd's Beaked whale stranded Caroline Bay 27th December. No necropsy performed however local Iwi have the rights to request one.
• Pygmy Blue whale, 14 metres, 28th December, found washed up on a South Taranaki beach. It appears to have died several weeks before from unknown causes.


Unusual sightings
• Arnoux Beaked whales, Otago Peninsula - 24 December
• Tasman Bay - 29 December. A group of what is now believed to be a Sperm whale(s) and possibly more Beaked whales (originally misidentified as Southern Rights or Humpbacks) were observed before the single stranding occurred.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Trade Agreements: TPP Minus US Starting To Gain Ground

The Japanese government is picking up the pace on reviving the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment deal, with talks scheduled next month among the 11 countries left in the pact after the withdrawal by the US after the election of president Donald Trump. More>>

ALSO:

PACER:

Prices Up 2.2%: Annual Inflation Highest In Over Five Years

"Rising petrol prices along with the annual rise in cigarette and tobacco tax lifted inflation," prices senior manager Jason Attewell said. "Petrol prices in New Zealand are closely linked to global oil prices, and cigarettes and tobacco taxes rise in the March quarter each year". More>>

ALSO:

Undertaxed? NZ Income Tax Rate Second Lowest Among Developed Nations

New Zealand workers pay the second smallest portion of their income to the government among developed nations and less than half the average ratio of their Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development peers. More>>

ALSO:

Cyclone Cook: Round Up Of This Week’s Weather

One of the significant impacts this week was flooding due to excessive rainfall amounts. Rainfall amounts topped out at 350mm over the past 60 hours in parts of northwest Nelson, with 200mm+ measurements recorded about Coromandel Peninsula, and between 150-200mm in the Kaimai Ranges. Rainfall amounts of between 30-50mm were commonplace elsewhere. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier: Batten Down The Hatches For Cyclone Cook

Although fast-moving, Cyclone Cook will be destructive and MetService Expert Meteorologists have issued Severe Wind Warnings for the whole of the North Island apart from Northland... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news