New Research From SEASWAP Helps Fishermen Avoid Sablefish-Eating Whales
SEAFOODNEWS.COM By Peggy Parker - November 23, 2015
Captain Ahab, the legendary, avenging whaler of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, probably would have done anything for a satellite communication device. Real-time reports on sightings of the great white whale would have made short work of his epic effort, especially with the ability to identify individual sperm whales.
Southeast Alaska sablefish fishermen have that device and used it last summer. But rather than chasing down sperm whales, they are doing all they can to avoid them.
“We’ve always shared the ocean with whales,” says longliner Phil Wyman of the FV Archangel, “but we never signed up to feed the whales. They are plenty good at catching sablefish on their own—and so are we if they leave us alone.”
Sperm whales usually forage far offshore in the deep waters at the edge of the continental shelf, but have been expanding into new areas as their population rebounds. Depredation became a recurring problem for fishermen in the mid 90s, when...Full Story »