Right Whales Spotted In Extralimital Area
A group of endangered North Atlantic right whales has been identified near Greenland in an area where the species was thought to be extinct, using a system of underwater microphones.
The discovery of at least three individual whales, presented this week at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Portland, Ore., is particularly important, researchers say, because it is in an area that may be opened to shipping if the melting of polar ice continues, as expected.
Right whales were hunted for their blubber and baleen until a world-wide ban on right whale fishing was put into place in 1937. Scientists estimate there are fewer than 350 of these whales left in the oceans, according to the New England Aquarium. Right whale deaths are largely attributed to ship collisions in the busy waterways of the eastern United States. Over the last decade, ship collisions have been responsible for about 40 percent of all known North Atlantic right whale deaths.