Saturday, August 06, 2005

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Listening System May Help Save Right Whales

North Atlantic Right WhalesAfter the sad news on the small Egyptian butterfly, somewhat better news on whales, the world's biggest animals; always part of Greenpeace's stuggle:

BOSTON Aug 5, 2005 — Small survey planes, daylight and luck have long been the best tools for scientists hoping to spot the rare North Atlantic right whale.

The results aren't too impressive.

An estimated one in four whales are spotted by aerial surveys, leaving the rest vulnerable to ship strikes or fishing gear entanglements.

But scientists say an underwater listening system they're developing will dramatically improve detection and reduce whale deaths.

The "passive acoustic" system would find whales and immediately transmit their location to nearby vessels.

"It will reduce (ship) strikes, period," said Richard Merrick, chief of the protected species branch at NOAA Fisheries, New England.

Read more here.


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