[MARMAM] Professional advice and support requested - Rights and Whales at Fundy

art at bayoffundy.ca art at bayoffundy.ca
Sun Jan 28 07:14:21 PST 2007

The Bay of Fundy is vital to Northern Right Whales, Finbacks, Humpbacks, Harbour Porpoise, Minke; other marine mammals; an abundance of seabirds; and 2,000 to 3,000 marine invertebrates. The huge tides and the consequent mixing produces an extremely high level of productivity that centres on the mouth of Head Harbour Passage, the entrance to Passamaquoddy Bay. The passage is the centre of feeding activity and supports an astounding abundance of life. Dr. David Gaskin identified this area as the principal Harbour Porpoise nursery and all species of whales and seals occur there when the Meganyctipanes and Calanus populations are high. From a social point of view the area is the centre of the herring weir industry, aquaculture, and ecotours and revenues from these and related industries are just under a billion dollars annually. The area thrives on this unique "eco-economy".

Currently 2 applications for LNG terminals on the Maine shore of Passamaquoddy are before FERC the US energy regulatory body. Another terminal has just been announced. 

If the 2 terminals are approved and built, as many as 400 huge LNG tankers and their tugs, in addition to the approximately 100 coastal freighters that currently go to Eastport and Bayside ports, will pass through Head Harbour Passage and important whale habitat. It is clear that the increased number of ships will result in additional ship strikes particularly to right whales. We are also concerned about the effects of sound in the Passage itself. Since the Passage is basically a tube, will the echo effect and/or sound distortion disorient resident whales. In particular what will the impacts be on mothers and calfs? Will sound and physical disturbance result in the displacement of cetaceans from this important feeding ground, putting additional pressure on other more marginal areas? What other impacts should be expected?

There are many unanswered questions and the forthcoming hearing will require expert knowledge, advice, and support that can be brought to bear on this issue. If you can help, please contact me, Art MacKay, at art at bayoffundy.ca. I post information on my website at www.bayoffundy.ca and fundywhale.blogspot.ca. I have registered as an intervenor in the hearings through my employer St. Croix Estuary Project Inc., a nonprofit community group that carries out environmental research and provides information on environmental and social issues. Please participate if you can.


Hope you can help.

Art MacKay
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