Deal signed to share whale migration information

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Government has announced a plan to share information on the migration patterns of humpback whales with specialists in the US.

The Department of Environmental Protection signed a letter of intent with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts.

Director Fred Ming said it was an important first step in ensuring a promising future partnership. It could have the potential to later attract “a wider line-up of international support for the humpback whale on its migrations across the Caribbean Sea, the Sargasso Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean,” Dr Ming said.

“Government is grateful for this unique opportunity to demonstrate a national interest in the humpback whale with the signing of a letter of intent to build an active and co-operative, model relationship with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary that will benefit not only the whales, but also our children, our cultural relationships, local science and tourism.”

He called the mammals “mysterious leviathans of the deep” and said their migrations were attracting growing interest from people who can observe “their playful acrobatics and distinctive undersea song”.

Dr Ming said people, like local naturalist and film-maker Andrew Stevenson, were successfully highlighting the magnificence of the humpback whale, not only for Bermuda, but the rest of the world.

Mr Stevenson, who signed the letter of intent on behalf of the Stellwagen Bank NMS, said the joint initiative sought to improve knowledge on the shared humpback whale population between the sanctuary, where they feed and nurse, and their migratory corridor in Bermuda.

“This knowledge could lead to establishing a Sister Sanctuary partnership between the Stellwagen Bank NMS and the Government of Bermuda.”

“The letter that we are signing today reflects the clear intention of the participants to foster cooperation on activities of mutual interest and to exchange experience concerning the conservation and management of the endangered humpback whale, the respective marine bank ecosystem they frequent and their migratory corridors.

“The signing also signifies a beginning that provides a great opportunity for a most successful collaboration.”

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Published Jul 3, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated Jul 2, 2011 at 7:57 am)

Deal signed to share whale migration information

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