Update: October 2016 – Confirmed that endangered Southern Resident L95 died due to an infection resulting from limpet tagging. Read news item here.
Update: January 22, 2012 update to the December 10, 2010 blog item below: Approval granted to limpet tag the endangered southern resident killer whales. See news items at the end of the blog.
The American “Northwest Fisheries Science Center” (NWFSC) has applied for expansion of their permit to satellite tag endangered and threatened whales with airguns, including the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population and the threatened Northern Residents and Transient populations (the range of all these whales very much includes British Columbian waters).
It is the opinion of many involved in whale research and conservation that the impact of the airgun tagging far out weighs any benefit to the whales. There are other ways to get data on the movement of killer whales e.g. acoustic tracking and collaboration with researchers who have been studying these whales more extensively than NWFSC.
It is my opinion that the tagging cannot provide data that will help reduce the threats of toxin accumulation, prey availability, disturbance or noise so – why do it? The photos here indicate just how invasive these types of tags are.
Below, I also include a letter from the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association (NIMMSA) in which they powerfully express their concerns about the tagging.
If you too are concerned about the merit of this tagging program, please help in creating awareness. Share this blog on Facebook; do what you want with the images (help them go viral) and provide coment via this link before December 23rd, 2010.
News items and further resources regarding limpet tagging of killer whales:
- King 5 News; October 5, 2016; NOAA: Satellite tag infection killed orca
- CBC News; April 16, 2016; Orca satellite tagging halted after dart found in dead whale
- NOAA Fisheries Services; Updates re. tagging killer whales.
- Kitsap Sun; January 5, 2013; “Satellite tages helping track killer whale pod”
- Seattle Post Intelligencer; December 31, 2012; “Southern Resident “Scoter” Hit be Invasive Satellite Tag by NoAA – To What End”
- NOAA Fisheries Services; February 20, 2012; Announcement of first southern residents killer whale tagged, J26.
- Times Colonist; February 4, 2012; “Opposition to orca tagging gathers pace”
- NOAA Fisheries Services; August 11, 2011; Supplemental Environmental Assessment on the Effects of Issuance of a Scientific Research Permit Amendment for Research on the Eastern North Pacific Southern Resident Killer Whale (Orcinus Orca)
- News 1130; January 29, 2011; “Killer whale study angers conservationists – local group thinks tracking tags cause more harm than good”
- “Huffington Post; January 22, 2012; Killer whale satellite tags” National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration approved to tack endangered whales”
- Seattle Post Intelligencer; January 22, 2012; “The reality of dart tagging the southern resident killer whales – it is invasive and disruptive”
- Globe and Mail; January 22, 2012; “Plan to tag endangered whales may harm them, expert says”
- Times Colonist; December 10, 2010; “Orca tags would track routes”
- Komo Newsw; December 5, 2010; “Airgun tagging of orcas: helpful or hurtful?”
- Seattle Post Intelligencer; December 5, 2010; “Satellite tagging of orcas proposed”
- Kitsap Sun; December 4, 2010; “Satellite tagging could track killer whales in winter . . . but at some risk?”