Saturday, 10 May 2014


whalE-Mail from Jeff

Hey Gerry,
Only have a minute but wanted to let you know HOW MUCH FUN IT IS to be part of the Team. Let me know what you need and I'll try and come up with it. One of the things that we've been developing up here in the Bering Sea and has worked very well for us is the use of Sono Buoys. They're basically a hydrophone that has directional and transmitting capabilities. We'll drop a couple at low altitudes from the plane about 10 miles apart and then listen in real time to the animal’s vocalizations. We can hear animals vocalizing up to 15 miles away from the buoys and depending on or altitude we can listen to the buoys up to 40 miles away. Once we hear a Right Whale we can triangulate between the buoys and usually can come up with a direction of where the animal may be. It's very cutting edge and pretty cool stuff. Thought you might be interested in this for other dolphin projects. Gotta run! Thanks again and hope to talk to you soon! Cheers, Jeff 

Jeff has been involved in the Right Whale Surveys for the last few years. He works from aircraft, speed boats, and even huge balloons. He has been working on the North Pacific Right Whales which grow up to 18 m long and weigh up to 100 tonnes; the largest of the three Eubalaena Right Whales.

Hey Jeff, is this the ‘right’ one?

They are called "right whales" because whalers preferred them. They were the “right” ones to catch because they floated when killed and were close to shore. Being “right” meant that their populations were decimated over a short time as the result of intensive harvesting.

Dropping Sono Buoys.

Adults today are between 11–18 m long and weigh 60–80 tonnes. The body is extremely stocky measuring about 10 m in circumference for a large animal. The tail fluke is also broad (up to 40% of body length).

 Jeff gets his camera wet.

There are two populations of the North Pacific Right Whale. The population in the eastern North Pacific/Bering Sea is extremely low, and may number under 50 individuals (Jeff’s last count was 17!). A larger western population of 200-300 is found in the Sea of Okhotsk. Because of these extremely low numbers, the two northern right whale species are the most endangered of all the large whale species. Some researchers believe they are the most endangered animals in the world and calculate that their falling numbers will bring about extinction in the 22nd century.

Estimated numbers (2006):