Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Nature of Conservation: Where are the North Atlantic right whale calves?

                                                                                                                                   Photograph Credit: Krill Carson

Hi! This is Ingrid Biedron again, and this week I'd like to highlight North Atlantic right whales.

No new North Atlantic right whale calves have been sighted this season. Usually right whale calves are seen in January and February in ocean waters from Georgia to Florida. On average, about 17 calves are born per year. 2017 was a tragic year for the North Atlantic right whale. At least 17 right whales were found dead, 12 in Canada and 5 in the United States (US).

Right whale fluking off Race Point, Provincetown, MA. Photograph credit: Krill Carson
Only about 450 North Atlantic right whales remain, and of those, less than 100 are breeding females. Although the right whale population grew in the 2000’s, in recent years, the population has been declining. Entanglement in lobster and snow crab gear and ship strikes in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in Canada and along the east coast of the US are the main causes of mortality. An increasingly industrialized ocean, including ocean noise from oil and gas exploration, shipping, and development, and warming waters, could add stress to right whales, decreasing their immune system health and calving rates. The prospect of a year with no right whale births after a year of catastrophic number of right whale deaths is devastating for a species teetering on the edge of extinction.

Left side photograph of a right whale. Photograph credit: Krill Carson

Twenty years ago, the Vaquita, a porpoise species found in the Northern Gulf of California, with about 30 individuals remaining and a handful of fishing entanglements away from extinction, was in the same situation as the North Atlantic right whale. Twenty years from now, the right whale may already be extinct if we don’t act faster and more effectively to save them. Many people, scientists, government officials, environmentalists, fishermen and citizens are working hard to save the right whale. An international working group has formed to find science-based solutions and the New England Aquarium held a workshop on developing less dangerous fishing gear last month. The awareness and concern for the plight of the right whale are heartening and necessary to pull the species back from the brink of extinction. But they’re not enough.

Two right whales skim feeding in Cape Cod Bay.

Summer is coming, and right whales can’t take another year like last year. We must all act now to stop right whale deaths in Canada and the US. The US and Canadian governments, scientists, environmental NGOs, fishermen and public must find a way to slow down the ships and stop the entanglements now. The snow crab season starts in the coming months and we need action by then. If US senators and congresspeople and the Canadian government hear from their citizens that they want to save the right whale, that gives them the political cover they need to fight for the right whales.

If you want to help save the North Atlantic right whale you can! The first step is to tweet, call, email, write or visit your US senator or congresspeople, or if you live in Canada, your representative and Prime Minister Trudeau. There is still time to save the right whale, but we need to act now.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

New NECWA Toddler Shirt - As Cute as a Baby Whale

Hot off the press, this toddler shirt is super adorable for anyone who loves whales! 

How can you say no to this shirt with the text ""I'm as cute as a baby whale!"

The baby humpback whale design is the creation of artist Mary Jo Danton.

This 100% cotton, 5.5 oz shirt comes in two colors: pink and aqua colors. 

Toddler sizes to choose from are 2T, 3T, 4T, 5-6 and 7.

All toddler shirts are $13 plus shipping and handling.

To purchase yours today and support NECWA's projects and activities, go to our NECWA online Store by clicking HERE.

All proceeds from the sale of merchandise through NECWA's online store go to support our many projects and activities. 

Thank you!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

NECWA at the New England Saltwater Fishing Show

NECWA will once again have a booth at the New England Saltwater Fishing Show from March 9th through March 11th. 

We will be chatting up our New England Basking Shark and Ocean Sunfish Sighting Project ( as well as our Diamondback Terrapin Sighting Project. You can pick-up our free sighting keytags for these projects as well as Mass Audubon's Sea Turtle Sighting Network.

Stop by the booth and say hello to the NECWA crew! We will have lots of free give-aways as well as a few things for purchase to help support our efforts. 

See you there!

Team Mola talk at the Wellfleet Public Library on Sunday, March 4th

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Nature of Conservation: Hawaii Adventure with Dad

In January of this year, my dad and I went on a trip to Hawai’i, to the islands of Hawai’i Island and Oahu. We enjoyed exploring a tropical environment with diverse and beautiful ecosystems and welcoming people. I only was able to glimpse a fraction of what the region holds, but I enjoyed seeing manta rays, humpback whale, green sea turtles, many fish, and even a monk seal! 

In addition to being in Hawai’i for vacation, I was there as part of a team to review work of the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center, a collaboration between the United States Geological Survey (USGS), also under the Department of the Interior, and the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, University of Guam, and other research partners. We also visited the Hawai’i Wildlife Research Center, the only center of its kind in Hawai’i, which provides wildlife rehabilitation to native wildlife, mostly birds, in Hawai’i. 

I think NECWA and the Hawai’i Wildlife Research Center both exemplify a profound dedication to and care for the creatures on this planet. Their work should be acknowledged and supported by the people, communities, and state and federal agencies that depend on them to step up and help where no one else does. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Nature of Conservation: Your Voice Does Matter

Hi: This is Ingrid Biedron again.

I learned from a colleague who works on the Hill that it DOES make a difference if you contact your Senator or Congressperson! You can tweet them, call them, e-mail them, send them a letter, or visit them in person! It does matter! Even as few as 10 tweets on one issue is sometimes enough for a staffer to highlight that issue for their boss, the Senator or Congressperson. 

If you care about an issue, I encourage you to let your representatives know, in the way that is easiest for you. It is important that you contact the representatives for the STATE YOU LIVE IN! Most likely, representatives will be concerned about responding to issues that their constituents care about, so that they can count on their votes for re-election. That means that representatives will most likely listen to and address the concerns of the people they represent but may not pay as much attention to comments from people living outside the state they represent. To find out who your Senators and Representatives are and what their contact information and twitter handles are, I suggest just googling them!

Since I am an environmentalist and I am concerned about increased offshore drilling in US waters, I suggest you reach out to your representatives on this issue, letting them know if you don’t want drilling in US waters (right now, most coasts on the Continental US and Alaska, except for parts of Florida, are on the table for drilling as soon as 2019). If you would like to voice your concerns to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Federal Agency (under the Department of the Interior) regulating offshore drilling in the US. 

It is very important that as many people as possible attend the pubic listening sessions at various cities in the next few weeks and/or submit your comments online! 

Here are the New England public listening sessions:
  • February 13 – Hartford, CT
  • February 27 – Boston, MA
  • February 28 – Providence, RI
  • March 5 – Concord, NH
  • March 7 – Augusta, ME
Here are the links listing the public listening sessions and describing how to submit your comments online. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Ingrid Biedron - The Nature of Conservation!

I’m Ingrid Biedron, a marine scientist and conservationist, and I’m excited to have an opportunity to blog for NECWA! I am a huge fan of NECWA and the blood, sweat and tears that its Founder, President, and CEO, Krill Carson, and NECWA’s many volunteers and interns, dedicate to wildlife in New England’s coast and oceans. 

I have worked at an ocean conservation NGO, for NOAA, and for several academic institutions, and I’m always looking for a better way to use science and policy to protect the planet and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. I am originally from Chelsea, Michigan, have spent a lot of time in New England, and currently live in Washington, DC. I’ll be blogging about my thoughts on marine ecosystems and how we can continue to protect them. 

So keep an eye on this blog site and thank you for taking an interest in the natural world around you!