Crashes of whale and boat may be very common, study says

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The collision of humpback whales and boats in the Southern Gulf of Maine, a body of water off of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine has become very common than previously thought. This collision puts both boaters and the sea mammals at risk. Around 15% of the protected humpback whales visit the Gulf of Maine every spring season. These whales suffer a major injury along with at least one vessel strike. Researchers have made this analysis based on photos captured of 624 whales who suffered from injury between 2004 and 2013 in the water bodies.

Most of the whales had four or fewer vessel strike injuries. Seven of them had at least three and two of them with at least four injuries. Researchers were not able to decide whether multiple injuries in different parts of the whale’s body were caused due to one strike or more. Alex Hill, the lead author of the study, who is a scientist with conservation group Whale and Dolphin Conservation, in Plymouth, Massachusetts said, “Vessel strikes could put both whales and boaters at significant risk. Deep research can help us to figure out if our outreach programs to boaters are effective, what sort of management actions are needed and help to assess the health of the population.”

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) is a charity home to protect the animals. According to them people might be injured or killed in case if there is small vessel struck by a whale.  Some of the collisions have resulted in small vessels to sink. One of the research coordinators for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Dave Wiley said, “The paper could indeed inform regulations for federal managers.” Wiley, who was not involved in the study, said it was an upset moment for us to see the rates of strikes going high.