Boats may be hitting whales in Gulf of Maine more often, study suggests

The Extinction Chronicles

BY PATRICK WHITTLE

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A group of marine scientists says collisions of whales and boats off the New
England coast may be more common than previously thought.

The scientists focused on the humpback whale population in the southern Gulf
of Maine, a body of water off Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. They
found that almost 15 percent of the whales, which come to New England to
feed every spring, had injuries or scarring consistent with at least one
vessel strike.

The researchers, who published their findings in the March issue of the
journal Marine Mammal Science, said the work shows that the occurrence of
such strikes is most likely underestimated. They also said their own figure
is likely low because it does not account for whales that are killed in ship
strikes.

“Vessel strikes are a significant risk to both whales and to boaters,” said
Alex Hill, the lead…

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