Nature Blog Network

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Slow Down - Think of the Invert Children!!

Jeff at The New Blue is trying to get the word about the comment period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement of the Ship Strike Reduction rule. Jeff is a genuine friend of the inverts and believe it or not this is an important issue for inverts and invert lovers!

The Final Environmental Impact Statement is finally available for comment. This document outlines and assesses the alternatives to the proposed rule (10 knots per hour, inside 20 nautical miles (nm) for ships over 65') to protect critically endangered whale populations from ship strikes. This proposed rule and the process to get it approved has been mired by the Vice President and certain interest groups such that a process which normally requires 90 days has dragged out to 540 days and a significant weakening of the rule from a 30nm zone to the currently proposed 20 nm zone.

Right whale researcher Amy Knowlton is asking for some help. She needs 10-15 minutes of our time. She has put together a great page at NEAQ about the proposed rule, why it is needed and the process to date. It is a quick but good read on the subject. Please, go take a look at it, then become part of the process by commenting on the proposed rulings.

So how is this invert related?
Easy... the whale lice. There are three distinct species of whale lice which are found only on right whales of the North Atlantic. These small crustaceans do not have a free swimming stage, but rather spread from whale to whale through intimate contact, mostly from a mother to her calf. The whale lice then live their entire lives on the whales, multiple generations living in a very unique habitat in select areas on the whales. Protection for the whales means protection for these wonderful invertebrates. Each whale carries somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 of these whale riders.

Of course for me, there is the "Think of the children" too. I was fortunate enough to be aboard a NOAA research vessel in the Gulf of Maine when we came across a small group of right whales. Their distinctive blow is unmistakable. I was unable to get any pictures, but it was one heck of way to have your 6am coffee! I want my son to be able to have that experience in the not too distant future. I know he does too. He even wants to help collect whale poop to help out.

So if not for the cetaceans, do it for the crustaceans! Go read and send a comment to shipstrike [dot] eis [at] noaa [dot] gov for the generations of unique inverts that depend on the whales for everything. As Jeff, says it sure wouldn't hurt to mention a preference for the original 30 nm zone.


  1. Yeah gotta get posters made up for the next IWC meeting...

    JARPA - killing 10,000,000 a year!

    Ok, better stop now..

  2. Nice! I assume whale lice are the size of house cats?


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