Earth Day 2014: Whales at the White House

"Mz. Blue," a Life-Sized 90-Foot Inflatable Blue Whale, in Washington, DC's Freedom Plaza in 2013

“Mz. Blue,” a Life-Sized 90-Foot Inflatable Blue Whale, in Washington, DC’s Freedom Plaza in 2013

Join Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, Founder, Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance, along with Dr. David E. Guggenheim, the “Ocean Doctor” (president of Ocean Doctor and Board Member of the Great Whale Conservancy), with Michael Fishbach and Dr. Gershon Cohen, Co-Directors of the Great Whale Conservancy, for a unique Earth Day event on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 (Earth Day) at 2pm ET on the Ellipse below the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC.

Special Guest of Honor: Mz Blue, Great Whale Conservancy’s life-size 90-foot blue whale inflatable (see photo to right)!

Purpose:  To ask President Obama to direct the Navy to remove its objection to the use of an alternate shipping lane in California waters to reduce the killing of blue whales from ship strikes. 

Earth Day
Earth Day Speakers
Sylvia A. Earle

Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, Founder, Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance; National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence

Gershon Cohen, Co-Director, Great Whale Conservancy

Dr. Gershon Cohen, Co-Director, Great Whale Conservancy

Michael Fishbach

Michael Fishbach, Co-Director, Great Whale Conservancy

David E. Guggenheim

Dr. David E. Guggenheim, President, Ocean Doctor; Board Member, Great Whale Conservancy

Background: The officially sanctioned commercial shipping transit lane along the Southern California coast cuts through critical blue whale feeding habitat.  “Ship strikes” – collisions between the whales and the ships result in many whale deaths.

Blue whales may be the largest animal to ever live on Earth, and they are remarkably intelligent and agile, but they are dwarfed by these ships which are usually unaware a strike has even occurred. No one knows why the blue whales are often unable to avoid the ships, it might be due to the noise from multiple vessels or because they are so focused on feeding – blue whales must consume tons of krill every day to survive.
There is an alternate shipping route, supported by the Coast Guard, which if used during the four critical months of July-October could reduce the number of ship strikes on blue whales by 80-90%.  Members of the industry have stated their willingness to consider using an alternate shipping lane if the Navy’s objection is dropped.
Great Whale Conservancy will be submitting a letter to the White House regarding this matter signed by NGO’s working around the world to protect whales, along with ~120,000 signatures from an on-line petition.  

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Download the Press Release:
2014-04-18 PRESS RELEASE: Great Whale Conservancy: Earth Day - Whales at the Whitehouse
2014-04-18 PRESS RELEASE: Great Whale Conservancy: Earth Day - Whales at the Whitehouse
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Great Whales Still Face Grave Threats

by Gershon Cohen, Ph.D.  — Co-Director, Great Whale Conservancy

A magnificent Blue Whale fluke (Image courtesy of Michael Fishbach, Great Whale Conservancy)

A magnificent Blue Whale fluke (Image courtesy of Michael Fishbach, Great Whale Conservancy)

The Great Whales need our help.  They face multiple threats today in many parts of the world: “scientific whaling,” ship strikes, habitat encroachment, decreasing food supplies, ocean acidification, etc.; it is up to us to take on these threats and do what we can to protect these magnificent, sentient beings.

The Great Whale Conservancy was created in 2010 to answer this call, and the first problem we are focusing on is the ship strike issue that plagues whales in oceans around the planet –where great whales and cargo ships, oil tankers, and cruise ships try to occupy the same place at the same time.  The whales have no choice: they need to follow their food and consumes tons of protein every day to survive.  The ships have a choice: they can adjust their transits to minimize the time they spend in Great Whale habitat. Read more

World’s Largest Animals, Blue Whales, Threatened by Strikes from Ships

Great Whales Near the Farallones, California Coast (Photo by Dan Shapiro, Courtesy of NOAA)

Great Whales Near the Farallones, California Coast (Photo by Dan Shapiro, Courtesy of NOAA)

Whale populations, still recovering from centuries of hunting, continue to face a myriad of threats. But it’s often a surprise that one of the leading causes of death among whales around the globe is ship strikes. Now researchers are concerned that blue whales — the largest animals that have ever lived on the planet — are especially vulnerable to ship strikes in the Indian Ocean, according to the New York Times:

Read more

VIDEO: A Whale’s Unforgettable “Thank You”

As featured in The Ocean Doctor Radio Show, we’re pleased to present an amazing, inspirational video documenting the “rescue of a nearly-dead humpback whale, hopelessly entangled in fishing gear in the Sea of Cortez.” Michael Fishbach, co-founder of Earth Island Institute’s, Great Whale Conservancy, and his family and friends came to the whale’s rescue and were awestruck by what the whale had to give them in return. A hearty Ocean Doctor salute to Michael and the Great Whale Conservancy!

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National Geographic’s Newest Explorer

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August 1, 2011: We visit National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, DC to meet the newest National Geographic “Explorer in Residence,” Dr. Enric Sala and his important work on the “Pristine Seas” program with expeditions to the last remaining pristine areas in the ocean. We also hear the incredible story of a humpback whale, rescued at the brink of death, that said “thank you” to its human rescuers. And we hear the tragic story of the loss of one of our colleagues in Cuba.

The Ocean Doctor airs weekly on Want to listen on your iPod, iPhone or mp3 player? Download the mp3 file or subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a single episode. Or listen to us on your iPhone, Android phone, WebOS phone, BlackBerry or tablet, including the iPad, with the free Stitcher SmartRadio app. See the complete list of episodes. Follow The Ocean Doctor on TwitterBecome a Fan on Facebook! Submit a question and I’ll try to answer it on the air. Even better, record your question or comment on our special message line and I might play it on the air. Call: (805) 619-9194. You can also leave questions and comments for this episode below. Like the show? Learn how to become a sponsor. Read more


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