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When whale rescues become viral for the wrong reasons

It is increasingly common to find videos on social networks of members of the public who disentangle whales and other marine life. These videos have all the elements of an amazing story: danger, courage and, hopefully, success. However, in the Whale Disentanglement Network (RABEN, by its initials in Spanish), we never share these videos, and for good reason: While the stories are convincing, the unintended consequences of these actions can be devastating and could cause death.
Even though, we do not doubt the good intention of doing the right thing and saving the whales, there is much more at stake than the life of the only whale that inspires someone to act. We know how heartbreaking it is to discover a whale entangled in fishing gear, however, we are very concerned when we see videos of people who have not been trained to perform disentanglement operations for large whales carrying out this dangerous role. So far most of the stories have had a happy ending: a released whale, a hero without injuries and an increase in the public perception of this problem for whales.
However, we worry that we know that these actions can encourage others to do the same thing in order to help a whale. Whether they are motivated by a genuine passion for whales, the euphoria of risk or the hope of becoming the next Internet sensation, without knowing and considering all the risks that this implies.
These types of rescues happen without a plan and without training or authorization from the federal government. The difference between a rescue by trained people and well-meaning people, but without proper training and authorization can be a matter of life or death for the whale and for the potential rescuers.

WHALE
RABEN members performing maneuvers to rescue a humpback whale. The rescue was done on February 2018 and was successful.

In Mexico, RABEN has 180 trained members distributed within 15 teams in the Pacific Coast of Mexico and the Baja California Peninsula, they are the real heroes who rarely receive attention or appear in viral videos, but their work is to save lives, whale and human.
RABEN members make incredible sacrifices to do what they do. They dedicate their lives to save these whales when they become entangled in fishing gear that endangers their lives. The members of RABEN only face the challenge of risking their lives to save whales, after an intense training and learning process, which sometimes can take years to be completed. With NO salary, they are available 24/7 to respond to reports of entangled whales. To the sound of a text or the ring of a call, with full adrenaline rush, but aware that they must remain calm, they get ready with their equipment of tools and they go out to the sea in search of a wild whale scared and wounded, which does not know that they just want to help.
Doing this is amazing just by itself. Doing this day after day, without the need to publish it on social networks, and complying with the satisfaction of a job well done, makes them superheroes.
The devotion and passion can drive them, but their training and previous planning is what keeps them alive. An entangled whale can weight more than 40 tons and obviously is under a very high level of stress and probably also of pain. Untangling a whale can be lethal for both, the rescuer and the whale. Everyone has heard the successful stories of the whales that have helped during their rescue or have thanked the rescuer for setting them free, but the reality is not a fairy tale, a brief conversation with any member of the RABEN team, will kindly bring you back to reality: the whales are in pain, scared and will evade the rescue efforts, they react defensively, and sometimes, respond with a tail slap or pectoral slap, which can be lethal instantaneously for anyone who receives it. Each approach can upset even more a whale which is already stressed out, lowering moreover the probabilities of success.

WHALE

Entangled humpback whale. It was successfully released by RABEN members in 2016.
In comparison with what we see in the videos that have become viral and makes us feel good, the reality can also be tragic, like in the case of an entangled humpback whale which killed a diver of New Zealand in 2003, while trying to rescue it in the water.
Even the operations performed from a vessel can be potentially mortal. Last year, Joe Howlett, a trained and experienced Canadian rescuer, died during the rescue of a Right Whale, when the fluke of the whale hit the bow of the vessel. This shows us that even with proper training and experience, the risk for the rescuers is real.
Unfortunately, even the best intentions can threaten more whales than we can see. Both, Canadian and American governments suspended temporarily all the authorizations to rescue whales when Mr. Howlett lost his life. Even though the American government introduced gradually the authorizations in a matter of weeks, for Canada it took months to allow rescues again. During the suspension of activities, the whales continued entangled and the trained rescuers could not respond. If a member of the public died trying to rescue a whale, the rescuing operations could be suspended permanently, which would leave countless whales without being able to be rescued and leaving them to imminent death, since the trained teams wouldn´t be allowed to act either.

Even in the cases in which there is apparently a happy ending and it seemed like the life of a whale was saved, reality can be very different. Generally, in the entanglements there are difficult ties of ropes through the mouth of the whale or around a submerged pectoral fin, none of which is easy to sight from the surface. It is rare that only one rope going across the back of a whale will take a single cut to get rid of the gear. Without the right tools, gear or experience, a random single cut of a line could be tightened up or complicate even more other parts of the entanglement, enhancing the suffering of the whale and complicating the task of the real rescuers.

To attend reports of large whale entanglements requires a large community of Scientifics, teams expert in entanglement operations, whale observers, captains, fishermen, policy makers and members of the public. Each one has a role, but only the trained and authorized members of the teams of the Whale Disentanglement Network RABEN must perform the rescue actions of the whales.

Addressing reports of entanglement of large whales requires a large community of scientists, expert teams in entanglement maneuvers, whale watchers, captains, fishermen, policy makers and members of the public. Each one has its role, but only the trained and authorized members of the RABEN entanglement teams must perform the rescue maneuvers of the whales.
No need to risk your life or future whale rescues, you too can be a hero and help, this is what you can do:

* Contact the corresponding authorities:
-Natal Zone
-Capitanía de Puerto
-Maritime traffic
* Stop the boat.
* Maintain your distance, according to the guidelines of NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010: 60mts authorized smaller vessels, 80mts authorized larger vessels or 240mts unauthorized vessels.
* Describe the problem:
Type of fishing gear: nets, buoys, ropes, etc.
In which part of the body of the whale is found
* Send a photo, it can be a photo of the camera screen or a video taken with the cell phone.
* Inform about the location of the whale, you can share your current location by WhatsApp or send satellite position (latitude / longitude).
* Stay in the boat, never get in the water to try to rescue the whale.
* Wait for the staff of RABEN, do not try to help the whale, by removing the lines or drag buoys you reduce the chances of releasing the animal from all nets and / or ends, which could cause more damage.
* Reports the heading of the copy.
*Stay in contact.
* Follow the whale at a safe distance.

Check the report that Televisa made about RABEN by clicking on the following link:
Televisa News Report RABEN
Join ECOBAC and RABEN in our fight to end large whale entanglements. Your donations can make the difference. Thank you very much!
Visit www.rabenmexico.org y www.ecobac.org

We thank Regina Asmutis-Silva de WDC https://us.whales.org

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Mexican Big Whale Disentanglement Network RABEN Video

Mexican Big Whale Disentanglement Network RABEN Video

 

We are proud to share with you our RABEN video, so you can learn how and what we do in order to rescue our beloved giants
We made a version with English subtitles for our English speaking friends.
Please feel free to share it.
Soon we´ll send you a newsletter with a summary of this past whale season.
As always, we are very grateful for your support! Muchas gracias!
RABEN National Coordination
ECOBAC
 

 

 

RABEN video with English subtitles

 

 

We thank Jorge Morales and Fabiola Flores for making this great video. 
We also thank Katie Lavery for reviewing the English subtitles

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Our Best Wishes for this 2018.

Newsletter, season 2017 – 2018

OUR BEST WISHES FOR THIS 2018.

 

 

The official whale watching season began on December 8, and Will end on March 23, 2018. Therefore, SEMARNAT (bureau of natural resources management) handed out the permits and the flags (grey this year), which will have to be onboard and visible by all those boats providing with Whale watching activities.
So far, this season, many whales have been sighted in the Bay, whichhavebeen very active and distributed throughout the Bay. Reason why we are very happy and eager to continue working.

 

ENSURING THE PERMANENCE OF THE WHALES.

For this season, we are looking to obtain funds to carry out the Program of Prevention, Information, Monitoring and Surveillance of Humpback Whales in the Bay of Banderas.
This program has been operating for 6years, and has obtained excellent results, which you can consult in end of season bulletins, available on our website http://www.ecobac.org/boletines/. In summary, the harassment of whales caused by boat agglomerations has diminished considerably and the number of boats without permits has also decreased. We believe that it is essential to continue with the program. This because within the bay there are many private vessels that do whale watching, ignoring the applicable regulations, therefore leading to whale harassment and interruption of their behaviour and cycle.
The program has been carried out for 6 years, this was possible thanks to being able to gather funds from various institutions such as the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP), Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States and Punta de Mita Foundation. However, for this season we are raising funds through donations or sponsorship to cover for one or more outings. The requested contribution is approximately $ 3,000 pesos (depending on the price of gasoline), and as you will see in the following accounting summaries, the requested contribution is minimal, especially if you consider all the benefits it represents and the contributions made by ECOBAC and OPEQUIMAR Marine Center, and the invaluable support of the volunteers.

 

 

 

So far, we have received funding for 5 outings, which will be distributed along the month of January. If you,friend of ECOBAC, wish to collaborate with this program or have an acquaintance who would like to donate, please get in touch with us through here or our website www.ecobac.org, you can also look for us on Facebook as “Ecología y Conservación de Ballenas A.C.”, or send an email to ecobac.org@gmail.com or by phone (322) 2937851, where we will gladly assist you and we will give you more information about it.

 

 

DURING WHALE SEASON IT´S IMPORTANT TO NAVIGATE WITH CAUTION

In the winter season, whales and tourist visit Banderas Bay.  As we all know whales come to mate and to calf and being high tourist season the amount ofboats in our beautiful Bay increase considerably.  That´s why, one more time ECOBAC is working on the “Navigate with Caution” Campaign, inviting boaters to lower their speed and extreme caution during whale season, in order to avoid collisions with whales.  This year we are displaying posters in different businesses and a canvas at the boat ramp in Marina Vallarta.  Help us spread the word!

 

 

RABEN TEAM, A PERMANENT COMMITMENT.

With the arrival of thewhales we also started to receive reports of entangled whales. RABEN Bahía de Banderas has received 3 reports to date which have been corroborated but despite all efforts the release has not been possible due to the time of day or that the whale was not located. RABEN coordination would like to thank Dolphin and Vallarta Adventures, API Nautical Traffic, Ecotours de Mexico, Pablo Fernández de Marina Vallarta, Technological Institute of Bahía de Banderas and Explora Vallarta for the support in the days of search.

 

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We would like to especially thank Opequimar Marine Center for their support with the vessel and its crew, to CONANP for the support with personnel to coordinate the program, to Frank Mc Cann for his support to obtain funds, to Ecotours de México, Lavery’s Sod Farm, Inc. and Virginia Espino, who kindly donated money that will serve to pay for fuel and refreshments for the volunteers. Thank you very much, without this it would not have been possible to initiate this 7th year of surveillance. We have no doubt that with your support we will be able to raise funds for more outings.ECOBAC staff wishes you an excellent year kick off.

 

 

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Newsletter February 2016

ECOBAC´s February 2016 Newsletter

¡¡¡We went to San Francisco!!!

We are pleased to inform you all that, we had the opportunity to participate and attend in the “21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals”, which took place in San Francisco, California from the 13th to the 18th of December 2015. This conference is the most important international conference for marine mammal research. More than 2,000 participants from over 65 countries attended. To participate in the conference, it was necessary to compete with over 4,000 other applicants, and in the end two of ECOBACs’ entries were accepted. The first was an oral presentation with the topic title of “RABEN: Mexican Big Whale Disentanglement Network”, given by Biologist Astrid Frisch. The second was a scientific poster on the topic of “Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Banderas bay, Mexico; Relative abundance analysis and seasonal variation during the winters of 2004 to 2014”, by Iyari Espinoza MSc. Also, ECOBAC took part in two workshops, one about disentanglements and the other about mitigation of by-catch in fisheries. Overall, by attending the conference we learnt many things, and took away new research ideas for our own studies and to share with others in the future

…and the whales, where are they?

Picture2Like all the readers of this bulletin with connections to the marine environment have noted, it has become apparent to us this year that there are very few whales, or at least far fewer than we have seen in previous years. This may be a product of the natural phenomena known as “El Niño”, a cyclical global phenomena that causes the warming of the waters of South America, which in turn causes irregular and erratic rain. What additional impacts does “El Niño” cause? Changes in atmospheric circulation; warming of the planet and higher sea temperatures; marine and non-marine species that are susceptible to these changes will either die or change their migratory roots; and large economic losses may be felt in costal industries, such as reduced fishing etc. Also diseases caused by humidity, heat and excessive rain may arise. Due to “El Niño” having global impacts on weather patterns, it is not just in the Bay of Banderas where its effects are being felt and there is an absence of whales. It is also occurring in Hawaii and other Mexican humpback whale breeding areas such as Guerrero, Manzanillo and San Blas. However, our neighbors of Los Cabos appear to have had more humpback whales visiting their region than usual. We are not suggesting that there haven’t been whales seen in the Bay of Banderas this winter, only that we have seen less. We continue to monitor the situation to see if there are any changes throughout the season, but it is most likely that we will have to wait for the next whale season to see what will happen then and to understand more.

Caring for the whales

Humpback Whales Prevention, Information, Surveillance and Monitoring Program

­­Picture5ECOBAC once again is monitoring whale watch activities inside the Bay of Banderas to ensure the correct conduct of vessels around whales, according to the guidelines established in the NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010. During the vigilance trips, good navigation and whale watching practices are promoted, with the aim to develop awareness, principally in private vessel operators or “pirates” who undertake whale watching without licenses and are not informed of proper whale watching conduct. In addition, whale watch tour operators are monitored to check that they are following the whale watching guidelines. This is achieved by the support of Opequimar marine center, the 8th Zone of the Mexican Navy and committed volunteers. This is the fifth year that this project has been running, and the results so far have been positive. In the last two seasons we have witnessed far fewer episodes of vessel crowing around whales, and the number of licensed vessels has been increasing, therefore reducing the number of boats which aren’t licensed and are unaware of proper whale conduct. We are also focused on protecting and better informing vessel operators on how to maneuver and navigate around mothers with calves. They are the most vulnerable groups of whales and they are often the easiest to find, the most suitable for observation, and a very popular whale encounter for tourists. There are 16 monitoring trips programmed this season, and as of yet we have only completed half of them. The preliminary results from the first eight trips suggest that there is a much lower abundance of whales compared to previous years, this has also been expressed to us by concerned tour operators, who have reported that this year they have had to travel much larger distances to find whales.

The song of the whales: a possible indicator of welfare and health

Picture3As you all well know, whales sing and only in their breeding areas. That is why here, in the Bay of Banderas, we are fortunate to have the opportunity every winter to listen to the romantic songs that males sing to the females, to court them and become fathers to newborn whales the following year. Therefore, what is happening now that there are so few whales reported in the bay? It is the same question we have been asking ourselves at ECOBAC, therefore we decided to investigate, to see if there are lots of males singing or only a few. For this reason, during our “Program of Prevention, Information, Vigilance and Monitoring of Humpback Whales”, the biologists and volunteers onboard of the vessel are taking a little bit of time out to drop a hydrophone, so that we can listen and monitor the activity of the male singers.

Ocean traffic

Picture4The continued rise of tourist traffic in the Marietas Islands National Park has led to a considerable increase in vessel traffic in the area know as “the channel” (“el canal”), situated between Punta de Mita and the Marietas Islands National Park. This is due primarily because Punta de Mita is the area closest to the National Park, and therefore the area where it is most accessible to the tourists. It is for this reason, that at ECOBAC we have set out to actually count the number of vessels that pass the area in a set amount of time. Through this we hope to evaluate whether this marine traffic is affecting in anyway the whales, because of course “the channel” is the area that the whales use as the entrance to our beautiful bay.

Training a necessary tool for conservation

Picture6This year, in addition to focusing on local training, we jumped several states to train tour operators of the Guerrero coast. Thanks to the “Whales of Guerrero Project”, who organized the workshop, representatives from ECOBAC and the Tecnológico de Bahía de Banderas taught workshops over two days to 35 participants, who were all very interested to learn about whales, their behavior and the correct manor of how to accomplish successful whale watching tours. The workshop involved two days of theory, and one day of practical, where they went out aboard two boats along the coast of Guerrero to look for whales, and to put into practices what they had learnt. The workshop was attended by people from the local areas of Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo and Barra de Potosí. The response was excellent, and in general we are confident that all the attendees now know how to successfully whale watch without altering the behavior of the whales, and above all else caring for the whales whilst continuing to conserve them as a source of income.

The humpback whale as a “flagship species” for the care and protection of the environment in the Bay of Banderas

Picture7Today it is common knowledge, due to constant media coverage, that the climate of the planet is changing. It is now necessary that we are conscious and aware and of all of our actions, and that we try to moderate and change them to help with the conservation of the environment. It is for this reason that this year “The 2nd Festival of Whale Conservation” (“2do Festival por la Conservación Ballenarte”) is being held, with the focus of raising awareness in local people, national and international tourists, from children to adults, with the objectives that they grow with the conviction of caring and respecting our natural environment. For this purpose, interactive modules were designed with board games, such as “Zoomergidos”, which is similar to the traditional Mexican “lotto” but with marine mammals, their anatomy and their greatest threats to survival; also a specially designed games called “Anchors and Lifejackets”, a version of “Snakes and Ladders”, but with actions that guide the children to conserve the environment. In this way, the children and adults can enjoy and learn more about the biodiversity of marine mammals of our region and how to conserve and care for them.

BANER

Festival Ballenarte will be held on the 16th, 17th and 18th March

Do not forget about the Festival Ballenarte! This is the program of activities.

Wednesday March 16th, 5:00pm

Loving our whales:  Talk about whales for kids

Education games and surprises

Public Library of Los Mangos

Thursday, March 17th 6:00pm

Knowing Humpback whales and Banderas Bay projects: Lecture

Mini-auditorium 1. Research and Postgrad. Building CUC-UDG

Friday, March 18th 7:00pm

Caring for whales.

Come and have fun with our educational games and interactive displays.

Meet our real life size inflatable baby whale.

There´ll be surprises!

Arches of the PV Boardwalk (Malecon)

With activities to compliment the Festival Ballenarte, in February we will be visiting schools and public libraries giving talks about whales and the importance of caring for the oceans.

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2016 Season Begins ECOBAC Newsletter

Whale watching season starts this December 1st, 2015

Like every year at this time, as they so rightly deserve, we are enthusiastically preparing to receive the whales. Part of the preparation includes new projects that we are sure you will all like. We will also be continuing with several existing projects, but with an injection of fresh ideas. We hope that through this work we will plant and cement, in both the minds of the local population of the Bay of Banderas and visiting tourists, the concept of caring for the whales, in a simple and clear manner.

Additionally, we have received the excellent notification, for those involved in the whale watching industry, that for this year the season will start on December 1st. 2015 and finishes on March 23rd March 2016; in other words, we will have one more week to enjoy sustainably the whales’ presence in the area. Meanwhile, SEMARNAT (Jalisco Delegation).

Mexican National Whale Disentanglement Network (RABEN)

Boletin Inicio 2015-Picture1

The ongoing training of staff that make up RABEN, is of paramount importance to ensure that entanglement events (which may potentially occur in any of the areas of Mexico where gray whales and humpback whales assemble to reproduce and nurse calves) are dealt with in the most safe and efficient manner possible.

Boletin Inicio 2015-Picture2

It is for this reason that ECOBAC (who since 2012 has been in charge of the national coordination of RABEN) organized three workshops, with the aim to strengthen the most newly included teams and members of RABEN. The first workshop took place in Santa María Huatulco, Oaxaca, and included all three RABEN teams of Oaxaca state. The second workshop took place in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, and the third in Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur (which involved the training of the teams of RABEN El Vizcaíno, RABEN Bahía Magdalena and RABEN La Paz).

Boletin Inicio 2015-Picture3

These workshops took place thanks mainly to the sponsorship of CONANP, and included participating members of CONANP, PROFEPA, local academic institutions, tour operators and civil organizations.  The workshops included many trained RABEN team members, as well as new participants who wanted to join the team. Without doubt this commendable work is one of the most important projects that directly helps with the conservation of the charismatic whales that visit Mexico.

Field Practice for the RABEN Teams of the Bahía de Banderas

Apart from the training of RABEN members in workshops across the country, it is also important that the staff that makes up RABEN Bahía de Banderas do their annual practice of field techniques. For this reason on the 28th of October 2015, in the Marina of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, a training workshop took place including participants of the 8th Navy Zone, PROFEPA (Nayarit Delegation), the Captain of the Port of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, the Instituto Tecnológico de Bahía de Banderas, the Port Authority of Puerto Vallarta, ECOBAC, Vallarta Adventures, Ecotours de México and Explora Vallarta. The practice provided the chance to strengthen rescue techniques and was under the supervision of the expert David Matilla, who has been training the team since 2006.  Certainly, a great and much appreciated opportunity!  

 Boletin Inicio 2015-Picture4

Workshop of the Prevention of Whale Entanglements

 Boletin Inicio 2015-Picture5

Whale entanglement events are of great international interest, and on many occasions whales are entangled in fishing gear that they have carried for long distances, often from their feeding areas to their breeding areas or vice versa. If this is the case, it may well mean that the whale has been dragging the fishing gear for more than three months, and therefore will have wasted a large amount of energy in doing so.

To address this problem, and to try to continually reduce the number of entanglements, action has to be taken at a local and regional level. It is clearly necessary therefore, to work with fisherman and to plan strategies’ together to try to avoid whales being trapped in fishing gear and therefore also avoiding loss of fishing gear or catch and income to the fisherman.

For this reason three pioneering workshops took place in Puerto Ángel, Oaxaca, Guerrero Negro, B.C.S. and San Blas, Nayarit. They were attended by staff from CONANP, independent fisherman and representatives from fisheries cooperatives. All three events were very productive, and it is with great pleasure we inform you that the fisherman were very interested in the subject, and some even offered their help to work towards the testing of preventative “experimental fishing gear”. It is important to remember that the fishermen are not casting their nets with the intention of catching a whale! All the ideas and suggestions provided were integrated into a leaflet, which will be distributed in the regions of Mexico where the whales and fisherman often occur side by side, so that fishermen will know what to do when they go out fishing and observe a whale nearby.

We continue to support, strengthen and publicize this project with the hope that in a few years it will no longer be necessary to attend to whale entanglements.

Boletin Inicio 2015-Picture6 Interior of Entanglement Prevention Tips for Fishermen Brochure

National Workshop of Marine Mammal Protected Areas

At ECOBAC we were extremely happy to attend the recent meeting of the International Committee on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (ICCMPA). It was held at the Hotel Sheraton Buganvillas, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco and was attended by the directors of CONANP´s National Parks, who spoke about their work and operations involving marine mammals.

Boletin Inicio 2015-Picture7

Now the groundwork is being laid for the 4th International Conference of Marine Mammal Protected Areas, which will be proudly celebrated here in Puerto Vallarta, thanks to the hard work of the president of ECOBAC and the support of CONANP. It is hoped that over 250 participants from all over the world will attend. During the meeting, the considerable progress that Mexico has made in many different environmental protection matters will be expressed. The fact that in Mexico, especially in Puerto Vallarta, international meetings such as these are now occurring is a great achievement and above all a strong acknowledgement of this progress, although there is still space for improvements in some areas of marine conservation in Mexico until it reaches international levels. Additionally, it will bring the international spotlight on to Puerto Vallarta and will be a great opportunity to promote Puerto Vallarta as a destination to the world, as attendees are expected from all continents.

Boletin Inicio 2015-Picture8 

ACTIVITIES FOR THE UPCOMING WHALE SEASON

“I care for the whales” Campaign

Boletin Inicio 2015-Picture9

Environmental education and awareness is of upmost importance for the conservation of the natural environment, and it is this relationship between education and conservation that forms the basis of the saying “you can not protect what you do not”. It is for this reason that for the fourth year in a row ECOBAC will be running the campaign “I care for the whales”, but this year it will be a revised and expanded version. The objectives of the campaign are to encourage and ensure; good boating and navigational practices during the whale season; that tour operators and private vessels engaged in whale watching do so in the correct manner; that boats do not interrupt the natural behavior and activities of whales; that boats avoid getting too close to the whales; and to promote respect for the NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010, that regulates whale watch activities in the region.

We hope to have great success with our season projects, we thank all our friends, sponsors, and collaborators for helping us make this happen.  Remember, “We all care for the Whales.”

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End of Season Newsletter 2014-2015

Dear friends, collaborators and whale lovers, we would like to share with you the events and outcomes of the whale watching season 2014 – 2015.
The whale watching season finished officially on the 23rd of March, so at ECOBAC we closed our field season with our humpback whale research, conservation and protection projects. This season was quite varied in the results as you´ll see, so this means we have to keep up the hard work and intensify our efforts every winter when the humpbacks come to mate and to calf at Banderas Bay.

A reunion with old friends: Photo-identification catalog of humpback whales

camello dorsal foto Astrid FrischDuring the photo-identification project of humpback whales of the Banderas Bay this year, we were lucky to reencounter a very peculiar whale that is known as “Camello” (the “camel” in English). “Camello” is a humpback whale that has acquired his name due to the strange form of his dorsal fin, which is similar to the humps of some camels. “Camello” is a male whale that was sighted by Ecotours de Mexico, collaborators of the photo-identification catalog of the Banderas Bay. This peculiar whale has been a continuous visitor of Banderas Bay since 1999, with only two years that he has not been spotted, which of course doesn’t mean that he didn’t visit the bay, but that maybe we didn’t see him. “Camello” chooses the bay for it’s warm waters; most years he has been observed in large mating groups, competing hard for access to a female, whilst on other occasions he has been seen resting and even singing. In addition to “Camello”, we have encountered other old acquaintances, including “Telaraña”, a whale that has been seen in the bay on numerous occasions since 2001. Without doubt this year was a year of reunions.

Successful rescue of a calf: RABEN (Mexican National Whale Disentanglement Network)

On the 2nd of December, before the official start of the whale watching season, a report was received of an entangled humpback whale. After three days of searching the whale was finally located, and was successfully released from the fishing gear. The whale, a young calf, was entangled with netting via the mouth and around both pectoral fins. After several hours of work, the whale was successfully disentangled. In charge of the national coordination of RABEN, ECOBAC is pleased to be part of this important work supporting the conservation of the humpback whales and is very appreciative of the full commitment and participation of all the members of the RABEN team of the Banderas Bay who always work with tirelessly and with high spirits, as do the staff of SEMAR, Vallarta Adventures, Explora Vallarta, Ecotours de Mexico, ITBB and PROFEPA.

In news from the national network of 15 teams of RABEN, this year we would like to congratulate the following teams:

RABEN 2 Foto Frack Mc Cann

• RABEN Los Cabos, for their three successful rescues
• RABEN Oaxaca for the rescue of a mother and calf
• All the teams of RABEN that responded to reports of entangled whales, and that woked in the training of the staff, espeacially RABEN Mazatlán, Loreto and Manzanillo

Less harassment of the whales: Program of Prevention, Information, Surveillance and Monitoring of Humpback Whales

As part of the Program of “Prevention, Information, Vigilance and Monitoring of Humpback Whales in the Bay of Banderas” this year ECOBAC conducted 19 vigilance trips, with the purpose of sharing information with the vessels that are involved in illegal whale watch activities and to monitor compliance of the NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010 of the vessels that have a license for whale watching. In general less harassment of the whales, by both tourist companies and private vessels, was observed this year. This maybe due to the increased popularity of the hidden beach of the Marietas National Park, with some tourists preferring to visit the islands rather than whale watch.

Yet we are still analyzing data to understand the distribution of vessels in relation to humpback whales within the Banderas Bay.

Vigilancia Frank Mc Cann   Vigilancia 2 Foto Frank Mc Cann

One problem that is continued to be observed is the harassment of the whales by Jet Skis. It is prohibited in the NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010 that Jet Ski users approach whales, but it continues to occur and it is putting at risk the life of the tourists involved, which on the majority of occasions are adults accompanied by children.

Like every year this program has been carried out with thanks to the support of the Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) (in English the “Mexican National Park Commission”), OPEQUIMAR Centro Marino, la 8va Zona Naval, PROFEPA and various committed volunteers. The vigilance trips were concentrated during the holiday season, weekends and public holidays. On the weekend of the 31st of January to the 1st of February, with the help of PROFEPA Jalisco, two trips were carried out. The objective of PROFEPA was to monitor the whale watch activities and if they found vessels in breach of the whale watch regulations and to apply fines when necessary.

Cria atropellada 2 Frank Mc CannHowever, it’s not all good news. Sadly, this season we have recorded the death of a humpback whale calf that was run over on the 30th of December of 2014 by a tourist boat. Unfortunately, this occurred on one of the days when there is more tourist activity in the bay. For the purpose of reporting and evaluating the damage, PROFEPA Nayarit and Jalisco in coordination with the 8va Zona Naval and staff of ECOBAC, went to the area where the calf had been reported. Sadly, the calf had died, and it appeared that a vessel had broken the spinal column and made several deep wounds. Cria atropellada 3 Foto Frank Mc Cann . It is a regrettable incident, and for the time being we are still waiting for the response from the authorities before a complaint is filed. This type of event is what ECOBAC has being trying to avoid with the launch of their campaign “yo si cuido las ballenas”/ “I care for the whales”, and from now on we hope that this situation will never be repeated, that accidents like this do not affect the continued recovery of the population of the humpback whales of the North Pacific, and that this does not give a bad impression of marine tourism at a local, national or international level. This incident also represents a great risk for both tourists and staff of local vessels.

cria abandonada 2 foto Frank Mc CannNot everything is the fault of humans, on many occasions whales die from natural causes that we understand very little about. Such is the case of a calf that was abandoned by its mother on Sunday the 22nd of February. During one of the ECOBAC vigilance trips, a group of whales was observed that was constituted of a mother, calf and escort (McE) that were interacting with each other. On more than one occasion the mother was observed to be carrying the calf. However, after 20 minutes the mother and the escort were observed to swim away from and abandon the calf. cria abandonada. Foto Frank Mc CannThe ECOBAC team was present for more than three hours monitoring the lone calf, which began to swim in circles and by the end of the observation appeared tired and disorientated. Through the night reports were received of a humpback whale calf stranded alive on Los Tules beach. The stranding was attended by pubic saftey officers, ecología municipal, staff of RABEN, ECOBAC, PROFEPA, volunteers and the press. The primary action was to try and return the calf to the ocean, however due to strong currents and the weakened state of the calf, the young whale was quickly pushed back on to the beach, where it was knocked around in the break water. Unfortunately the calf died, and was burried the next day following health regualtions in PROFEPA’s protocol for stranded marine mammals.

Kuikani the ECOBAC mascot: The campaign “Yo si cuido a las ballenas “/ “I care about the whales”

With the main aim of supporting the continuation of the campaign “Yo si cuido a las ballenas’/ “I care about the whales”, Kuikani, an inflatable whale the size of a calf (6.5 m), is now located at the instillation of the Administración Portuaria Integral/Port Authority (API). The principal aim is to inform the local population, tourists and tourist service providers about good navigation practices during whale watch aKuikani en api 1 Foto Iyari Espinozactivities. Volunteers from different universities such as Tecnológico de Bahía de Banderas amongst others, very kindly participated in sharing information about the campaign by handing out leaflets in English and Spanish which explained the regulations for whale watching to tourists that were arriving or departing from a whale watch tour. The response was positive, and on occasions tourist showed gratitude that campaigns such as this exist, and were keen to take tours with only authorized vessels that respected the regulations. Other volunteers helped us by sharing information with vessel captains in the fuel stations of OPEQUIMAR, in the marina of Nuevo Vallarta and Punta de Mita.

Acknowledgements

Kuikani en api 2 Foto Iyari EspinozaLike every year, ECOBAC relies on the support of the general public and this year we are very pleased to thank the support provided by the Asociación de Empresarios de Puerto Vallarta y Bahía de Banderas, who have shown special interest in the environmental education and protection project, and supporting the campaign “Yo si cuido a las Ballenas/ I care about the whales”. Also special thanks to API, Opequimar, 8va Zona Naval and the volunteers that supported us in the promotion of the campaigns to help raise awareness: A Frank Mc Cann, Fabiola Flores, Jorge Morales, Anayeli Moreno, Haniel Ascencio, Monserrat Servín, Artemio Martínez, Liliana Gallardo, Sandra Magaña, Alejandro Rodríguez, Ana Ezcurra, Anel Acosta, Michael Acosta, Job Reyes , Katie Lavery and Laura Fenwick. We thank Nicky Ransome for the translation of this newsletter.

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January 2012 – ECOBAC Friend Newsletters

Estimados Amigos y Colaboradores.

Antes que nada queremos desearles un Muy Feliz 2012!!

Gracias a su donativo de la gran cena beneficio para las ballenas que se llevó a cabo en el Restaurante De Santos el pasado noviembre 2011 hemos podido continuar trabajando en diversos proyectos en esta temporada de ballenas.

A continuación les envío un breve reporte de los proyectos en los que estamos trabajando y los cuales son posibles de realizar en parte

ayuda con sus donativos, nuevamente gracias.

PREVENCIÓN, INFORMACIÓN Y MONITOREO DE BALLENAS JOROBADAS EN  BAHÍA DE BANDERAS

El objetivo de este proyecto es el de promover las buenas prácticas de navegación durante la temporada de ballenas, así como dar difusión a la NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010 que establece los lineamientos para la observación de ballenas y fomentar que se le de el debido seguimiento, evitando así el acoso a las ballenas, y las embarcaciones “piratas” (turísticas sin autorización para la observación de ballenas).  También durante los recorridos se esta monitoreando artes de pesca para llevar un registro.  Como bien sabemos estas redes pueden ser un peligro para las ballenas, en especial para las crías.

 

Opequimar nos esta apoyando con la embarcación “La Pangona” y su tripulación. La 8ª. Zona Naval nos facilitó la presencia de un oficial de la marina a bordo durante los recorridos, lo que ha sido de gran utilidad ya que formaliza los recorridos y genera más respeto por la labor que realizamos.

Imprimimos 1,000 volantes tamaño media carta, bilingües en blanco y negro con la norma de observación de ballenas y reglas básicas de navegación en presencia de ballenas para repartir durante los recorridos y también los están repartiendo en la gasolinera de Opequimar.

 

La labor de los recorridos ha sido intensa pero muy productiva.  Se ha repartido información a más de 50 embarcaciones en su mayoría privadas o turísticas pero sin autorización para observación de ballenas.  En 2 ocasiones logramos retirar a más de 15 embarcaciones privadas que acosaban a una Madre con cría.

 

 

La respuesta de la gente ha sido en general positiva, la mayoría se retira o mantiene la distancia señalada de 240mts.  Algunos reclaman obviamente y desafortunadamente algunos otros nos evaden y se van a otros grupos de ballenas y cuando nos ven acercándonos se vuelven a retirar.  Lo que demuestra que es importante realizar las salidas lo más seguido posible para que surta efecto.

 

Durante la salida del 31 de diciembre prestamos apoyo a la Red de Atención a Ballenas Enmalladas en la búsqueda de una hembra que fue reportada enmallada frente a Nuevo Vallarta. Al parecer la hembra fue liberada por una embarcación, ya que no la encontramos y fue el último reporte que recibimos

 

Hasta ahora la observación más importante es que las embarcaciones privadas o piratas no buscan ballenas si no otras embarcaciones.  En varias ocasiones hemos registrado más ballenas alrededor pero como no tienen experiencia o interés no buscan más ballenas y por eso se generan grupos de hasta 18 embarcaciones acosando a las ballenas.

 

 

Por el momento tenemos fondos para 10 salidas y estamos tratando de conseguir más donativos para poder realizar más salidas.  Cada salida tiene un costo de $1,400 pesos.

FOTOIDENTIFICACIÓN Y MONITOREO DE BALLENA JOROBADA EN LAS COSTAS DE OAXACA

En diciembre 2011, capacitamos al MenC Francisco Villegas de la Universidad del Mar de Puerto Angel, para que puedan comenzar a trabajar en el monitoreo de Ballena Jorobada en el área de Huatulco a Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.  La capacitación consistió en trabajo de campo para reconocer los diferentes comportamientos de las ballenas, asi como la forma correcta de navegación y aproximación.  También se trabajó con el archivador de imágenes y la base de datos para la comparación de fotografías.  Los resultados de este monitoreo se van a comparar con el Catálogo de Fotoidentificación de Ballena Jorobada en Bahía de Banderas para poder tener un mejor registro y comprensión del stock costero de Ballena Jorobada en México.

FOTOIDENTIFICACIÓN Y MONITOREO DE BALLENA JOROBADA EN EL PARQUE NACIONAL ISLA ISABEL

 

 

Continuamos con el proyecto de fotoidentificación que inició en el 2007 y ya realizamos 2 salidas de investigación para monitoreo de ballena jorobada en el Parque Nacional Isla Isabel, el 1er. Muestreo se llevó a cabo del 12 al 14 de diciembre de 2011 y el 2º. El 9 y 10 de enero de 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

En la salida de diciembre tuvimos la oportunidad de ver orcas falsas (Pseudorca crassidens) interactuando con las jorobadas, fue un espectáculo muy especial.  Normalmente se considera a las Orcas falsas como posibles depredadores de las ballenas, sin embargo las observamos nadar juntas por un largo periodo interactuando de manera muy tranquila.

NUEVO COMPORTAMIENTO DE BALLENA JOROBADA REGISTRADO EN BAHIA DE BANDERAS

Este año las ballenas jorobadas nos han sorprendido con un nuevo comportamiento, se han estado alimentando intensiva y extensivamente en la Bahía.   Las Ballenas Jorobadas vienen a Bahía de Banderas todos los inviernos a reproducirse y a tener a sus crías y pasan los veranos en California, Oregón, Washington, British Columbia y Alaska que son consideradas sus zonas de alimentación.  Durante los veranos las jorobadas ingieren hasta una tonelada diaria de alimento el cual incluye krill y arenque.  Este alimento lo utilizan para crear una capa de grasa que las aísla del frío.  Cuando llegan a Bahía de Banderas obtienen la energía necesaria de esta capa de grasa, que van absorbiendo poco a poco.  Es decir, que no tienen hambre, ni necesidad de ingerir alimento alguno.  En los 15 años que llevo trabajando con ballena jorobada nunca había visto a las ballenas alimentarse aquí.  En alguna ocasión alguien reportó a una ballena alimentándose en la zona, pero fue algo meramente ocasional. Normalmente las ballenas pasaban de largo escuelas de sardinas sin mostrar interés alguno.  Este invierno nos encontramos con la sorpresa de que las ballenas jorobas se han estado alimentando intensiva y extensivamente.  Desde el 19 de diciembre a la fecha contamos con más de 12 reportes distintos de ballenas alimentándose en ocasiones en grupos grandes de hasta 30 o más ballenas.  Desde entonces estamos haciendo un monitoreo lo más completo posible.  Ya tomamos varias muestras del alimento de las jorobadas y están comiendo Anchovetas, que son muy similares a las sardinas (de hecho pertenecen a la misma familia), por lo que mucho las llaman localmente, sardinas.

RED DE ATENCION A BALLENAS ENMALLADAS

El 30 de diciembre atendimos un reporte de una ballena enmallada en Rincón de Guayabitos, como parte del equipo de la Red de Atención a Ballenas Enmalladas en Bahía de Banderas (RABEN) fueron a Guayabitos Karel Beets (Ecotours de México) y Ricky Rebolledo (Vallarta Adventures).  Desafortunadamente no encontramos a la ballena enmallada, pero al parecer la Naval de San Blas y  algunos locales lograron quitarle la mayor parte de la red el 29 de diciembre.

 

Los mantendremos informados y seguiremos actuando  en  favor de las ballenas y esperamos que este año lograr los objetivos planteados en cuanto a Investigación y conservación.  Esperamos seguir contando con su apoyo.  Pueden ver más sobre nuestros proyectos en www.whalephoto.org  o seguirnos en Face Book.

AGRADECEMOS A NUESTROS PATROCINADORES

October Hill Foundation

Cascadia Research Collective

Unidos para la Conservación

IFAW

FWS

Ecotours de México

 

 

Atentamente

 

 

 

 

Astrid Frisch Jordán

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April 2012 – ECOBAC Friend Newsletters

Estimados Amigos y Colaboradores:

Terminó una temporada más de ballenas. Esta temporada fue una temporada muy especial llena de sorpresas, nuevos proyectos y éxitos.

Ahora estamos catalogando todo el material fotográfico y datos que logramos reunir en esta temporada y también estamos trabajando en los nuevos proyectos para la próxima temporada.

A continuación les envío un breve reporte de esta temporada 2011-2012.  Gracias por su apoyo!

PREVENCIÓN, INFORMACIÓN Y MONITOREO DE BALLENAS JOROBADAS EN  BAHÍA DE BANDERAS

Realizamos 10 salidas con el apoyo de Opequimar Centro Marino y con la participación de la 8ª. Zona Naval.  Los recorridos se realizaron principalmente en puentes vacacionales y fines de semana que es cuando se incrementa el tráfico marítimo.  Como recordarán el objetivo de este proyecto es el de promover las buenas prácticas de navegación durante la temporada de ballenas, así como dar difusión a la NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010 que establece los lineamientos para la observación de ballenas y fomentar que se le de el debido seguimiento, evitando así el acoso a las ballenas, y las embarcaciones “piratas” (turísticas sin autorización para la observación de ballenas).    A partir de las primeras salidas la gente comenzó a identificar a la embarcación “La Pangona” y la mayoría se retiraba o corregía sus distancias al vernos.  En varias ocasiones logramos poner orden cuando muchas embarcaciones estaban acosando a las ballenas, en especial a las Madres con cría.

 

 

 

 

 

Para hacer más eficientes los recorridos mandamos a hacer unas lonas señalando la distancia mínima a mantener con las ballenas.

 

 

Repartimos 1,000 volantes con información sobre las buenas prácticas de navegación y la NOM-131 durante los recorridos, en la gasolinera de Opequimar  y en la gasolinera de la marina de la Cruz De Huanacaxtle.

 

 

 

Una de las conclusiones a las que llegamos es que las embarcaciones, en especial las privadas, no saben buscar ballenas y solamente buscan embarcaciones y por eso se forman grupos numerosos de embarcaciones acosando a un solo grupo de ballenas, cuando hay más ballenas alrededor.

 

Debido al éxito obtenido durante esta temporada consideramos que este programa debe continuar y de ser posible realizar más de 10 salidas durante cada temporada de ballenas.  Estamos trabajando para tratar de conseguir fondos para lograrlo!

 

Queremos agradecer a todas las personas que participaron e hicieron posibles los recorridos del programa de Prevención, Información y Monitoreo de Ballena Jorobada en Bahía de Banderas, a los tour operadores autorizados que nos apoyaron con su donativo; a los capitanes Fernando y Alfredo,  a Erica Flores, César Villanueva  y Carlos Verjan   de Opequimar; a los Tenientes Vidal, Lozano y Prudente; a Paty Cerrillo y Francisco Cuevas; en especial a Frank Mc Cann por su invaluable labor durante todos los recorridos y a Eduardo Legorreta y Enrique Tron por facilitarnos la embarcación “La Pangona”!

 

REGISTROS DE BALLENAS JOROBADAS ALIMENTANDOSE EN BAHIA DE BANDERAS

Como les mencioné en el reporte anterior, esta temporada las ballenas nos sorprendieron con un nuevo comportamiento: estuvieron alimentándose durante la temporada de reproducción, algo nunca antes visto.  Logramos reunir 20 registros distintos de ballenas alimentándose, en superficie y de fondo.  En ocasiones los grupos eran pequeños y en otra se observaron más de 30 ballenas alimentándose en una zona, a veces acompañadas de ballenas de Bryde o sardineras y de delfines.  Publicamos unos artículos al respecto en la revista ESPECIES de Naturalia y en la revista Espacio Profundo.  En mayo presentaremos este evento ante la XXXIII Reunión Internacional para el Estudio de los Mamíferos Marinos.

 

RED DE ATENCION A BALLENAS ENMALLADAS

El 26 de enero de 2012 se encontraron 2 ballenas muertas en las playas de Litibú.  Una estaba en alto grado de descomposición y la otra al parecer murió a causa de un arte de pesca.  Normalmente cuando una ballena aparece muerta en nuestras costas lo más probable es que lleve meses enferma o atrapada en la red y finalmente muere durante la migración a su zona de reproducción.  Es prácticamente imposible saber en donde se enredó la ballena.  ¿En México, en Canadá o en Estados Unidos?

El 2 de abril se recibió un reporte de ballena enmallada cerca de Punta de Mita.  El equipo de RABEN atendió el reporte y trató de liberar a la ballena.  Se le quitó la mayoría de la red, pero desafortunadamente no se le pudo quitar toda y ya no se volvió a localizar en los días siguientes.

Esto nos indica que el problema con las artes pesqueras es serio y estas son las consecuencias.  Es por esto que es muy importante continuar con las labores de rescate y seguir capacitando equipos en la costa del Pacífico Mexicano para siempre que sea posible liberar a las ballenas de las redes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Los mantendremos informados y seguiremos actuando  en  favor de las ballenas.  Aun que las ballenas ya migraron a sus zonas de alimentación, nosotros continuamos trabajando para que las ballenas no dejen de visitar nuestra hermosa bahía.  Esperamos seguir contando con su apoyo.

Pueden ver más sobre nuestros proyectos en www.whalephoto.org  o seguirnos en Face Book.

 

AGRADECEMOS A NUESTROS PATROCINADORES

October Hill Foundation

Cascadia Research Collective

Unidos para la Conservación

IFAW

FWS

Ecotours de México

 

 

Atentamente

 

 

 

Astrid Frisch Jordán

Presidente

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January 2013 – ECOBAC Friend Newsletters

Estimados amigos y colaboradores!!!

ECOBAC les desea un muy feliz inicio de año 2013.

El pasado mes comenzó la temporada oficial de observación de ballenas y con ella, se abrieron nuevas oportunidades para la investigación y protección de estos maravillosos mamíferos marinos. Gracias al apoyo y proyectos que se concretaron con la Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) y la Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), se pudieron impartir talleres de capacitación en distintas regiones de México donde la ballena jorobada arriba en invierno para su temporada de reproducción. También se pudieron lanzar dos nuevas campañas para el cuidado y conservación de las ballenas.

A continuación se les envía un breve pero conciso reporte de lo realizado a la fecha y de lo que se está realizando en pro de las ballenas.

Atentamente

Biol. Astrid Frisch Jordán

PROGRAMA DE PREVENCIÓN INFORMACIÓN Y MONITOREO DE BALLENAS JOROBADAS EN BAHÍA DE BANDERAS

HUMPBACK WHALES IN BANDERAS BAY PREVENTION, INFORMATION AND MONITORING PROGRAM.

El objetivo principal de este programa es hacer un recorrido por la bahía con el fin de dar difusión a la NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010, la cual establece los lineamientos para la observación de ballenas, así como incitar a que estos sean cumplidos por embarcaciones turísticas y privadas y evitar el acoso a las ballenas y fomentar las buenas prácticas de navegación en la temporada de ballenas.

Desde que comenzó la temporada de observación de ballenas en diciembre de 2012 se han realizado 5 salidas y se tiene planeado realizar al menos 20 salidas durante la temporada.  Este programa se lleva a cabo gracias al apoyo de la CONANP y la FWS, de  Opequimar Centro Marino, miembros de ECOBAC, así como voluntarios.  En los recorridos también hemos contado con el apoyo de la 8ª Zona Naval y salimos con un oficial de la marina a bordo, es importante especificar que sin su presencia no se tendría el éxito, además de darle respeto, formalidad y presencia a cada recorrido.

Las salidas fueron programadas principalmente durante el periodo de vacaciones, principalmente en fines de semana con el fin de obtener un mayor alcance. Es muy importante señalar que desde la temporada pasada y como viene sucediendo año con año, se ha observado, que las embarcaciones privadas o turísticas, sin permiso de observación de ballenas son las que mayormente acosan a las ballenas, por lo que nuestro principal objetivo es informar y promover las buenas prácticas de navegación durante toda la temporada.

Durante los recorridos, se reparten volantes con un breve resumen bilingüe de la norma oficial mexicana para la observación de ballenas, así como folletos en donde se promueven las buenas prácticas de navegación y se informa de la presencia de crías las cuales son más vulnerables al acoso de las embarcaciones. Además se les invita a cuidar a las ballenas para que sigan regresando a Bahía de Banderas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

En total, se ha repartido información a más de 100 embarcaciones en su mayoría privadas o turísticas sin autorización. La respuesta por parte de los capitanes de embarcaciones ha sido buena, hemos logrado que durante la observación de un grupo, las embarcaciones se retiren o mantengan la distancia adecuada para no acosar al grupo de ballenas, los cuales en su mayoría han sido madres con cría y escolta.  En el caso de las embarcaciones con permiso se le incita a que cumplan con la norma en distancia y tiempo, pues se han encontrado embarcaciones que tardan más de una hora con el mismo grupo, a estos se le invita a ir en busca de nuevos grupos de ballenas que les ofrecerán un  espectáculo diferente.

En algunas ocasiones, la respuesta es negativa o simplemente nos evaden y huyen cuando ven que nos aproximamos a darles la información, sin embargo nuestra presencia en el mar los fuerza a portarse mejor.

 

RED DE ATENCION A BALLENA ENMALLADAS

Durante el mes de noviembre de 2012 organizamos dos talleres de capacitación con el objetivo de conformar la Red Nacional de Atención a Ballenas Enmalladas (RABEN México); el primero de ellos se llevó a cabo en Puerto Vallarta Jalisco y fue impartido por David Mattila y Scott Landry de la NOAA , Comisión Ballenera Internacional  y Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. Estos investigadores están altamente

 

capacitados y cuentan con suficiente experiencia para la capacitación de nuevos grupos, sobre todo en lugares donde el problema de enmalle de ballenas en artes de pesca crece continuamente. En dicho taller se capacitaron 6 grupos los cuales quedaron distribuidos a lo largo de la costa del Pacífico mexicano desde Mazatlán hasta Manzanillo.  Durante el taller se entregó a cada grupo la herramienta necesaria y adecuada para el rescate de ballenas enredadas en artes de pesca. También se les capacitó en mar para que cada rescate futuro sea atendido de forma segura y  sin exponer la vida humana, los rescates se realizan siempre a bordo de una embarcación.

El segundo taller fue llevado en la Paz Baja California, con el objetivo de capacitar a la península y donde también acudieron representantes de Latinoamerica, con el fin de tener un mayor número de personas capacitadas. Durante el primer día del taller se abordaron temas de veterinaria de mamíferos marinos enfocado a ballenas y estos temas fueron impartidos por el Dr. Michael Moore de Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution y La Dra. Frances Gulland de The Marine Mammal Center.   El segundo día se enfocó a la capacitación para el rescate de ballenas jorobadas, los temas fueron impartidos por David Mattila y Ed Lyman de la NOAA y Comisión Ballenera Internacional.   El tercer y último día fue totalmente práctico, donde se les entregó a dos nuevos equipos la herramienta necesaria para el rescate y las técnicas utilizadas en el mar para un rescate eficiente y seguro.

Estos talleres fueron llevados a cabo gracias al apoyo de la Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP) y con la colaboración de la Comisión Ballenera Internacional y la  NOAA.

Podemos estar orgullosos de que en México contamos ya con 8 equipos capacitados y equipados para atender este tipo de eventos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TALLERES DE CAPACITACIÓN A TOUR OPERADORES DE OBSERVACION DE BALLENAS EN EL PACIFICO MEXICANO

Previo a la temporada de observación de ballenas, se realizaron cuatro talleres de capacitación a tour operadores de observación de ballenas, con el fin de que dicha actividad sea practicada siguiendo los lineamientos publicados en la norma oficial mexicana NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010, informando a todos aquellos capitanes de embarcación y guías de turistas sobre los aspectos generales de la biología y comportamiento de la ballena jorobada, las recomendaciones para no incumplir con la norma, las posibles sanciones a las cuales pueden ser sujetos e información positiva sobre la actividad de observación de ballenas a nivel mundial.

 

El primer taller fue dado en el mes de septiembre en Oaxaca y se contó con la participación del Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga, la Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas y tour operadores. La respuesta fue buena, sobre todo porque hasta antes de esa fecha, la actividad era realizada de manera irregular, sin permiso y sin la capacitación necesaria para ofrecer un buen servicio sin acosar a las ballenas.

 

El segundo y tercer taller fueron  realizados en Guayabitos y San Blas, Nayarit respectivamente, en estos talleres se contó con la participación activa de PROFEPA, SEMARNAT, CONANP  y el Instituto Tecnológico de Bahía de Banderas. Fue dirigido a tour operadores y guías de turistas. Al final de cada taller se realizó un análisis FORD donde se plasmaron las fuerzas, oportunidades, riesgos y debilidades de la actividad de observación de ballenas en cada región con el fin de mejorar en futuro el servicio.

 

 

El cuarto taller se llevó a cabo en Nuevo Vallarta Nayarit, el cual contó con el apoyo activo de SEMARNAT, CONANP, PROFEPA y el Instituto Tecnológico de Bahía de Banderas. Este sucedió a la par de la entrega de permisos para la observación de ballenas para la región de Bahía de Banderas por lo que conto con autoridades de los estados de Nayarit y Jalisco así como prestadores de servicios turísticos de toda la bahía. Durante este taller también se dio un reconocimiento especial al Sr. Justino Nieblas y al Sr. José Angel Salcedo por su amplia trayectoria en la observación de ballenas, su compromiso con la investigación, conservación y protección de las jorobadas y por sus buenas prácticas de navegación.

LANZAMIENTO DE VARIAS CAMPAÑAS:

NEW OUTREACH CAMPAIGNS:

 

YO SI CUIDO A LAS BALLENAS I CARE FOR THE WHALES

Que promueve buenas prácticas de navegación  para no molestar a las ballenas, en dicha campaña se están entregando folletos para incitar las buenas prácticas de navegación y se está premiando a aquellos tour operadores con buen servicio enfocado principalmente en el cuidado de las ballenas, el objetivo final es que cada uno de los tour operadores y empresas que ofrecen el servicio reciba un reconocimiento y el resultado sea que la Bahía de Banderas se considerado como el mejor lugar para el avistamiento de ballenas jorobadas en función del buen servicio ofrecido así como el cuidado y respeto a las ballenas y su entorno.

 

 

 

NAVEGA CON PRECAUCION  CRUISE WITH CAUTION

Para que la gente extreme precauciones o disminuya su velocidad y no atropelle a las crías de ballena jorobada. Dicha campaña está dirigida principalmente a embarcaciones privadas o sin permiso de observación de ballenas, con el fin de que se les informe la presencia de ballenas en la bahía y que atiendan los lineamientos encontrados en el norma oficial de observación de ballenas, donde se les invita a navegar con extrema precaución y disminuir la velocidad para no provocar colisiones con embarcaciones  y no poner en riesgo la vida humana, de la ballena y daños en la embarcación.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Boats and/or Companies Authorized by SEMARNAT

Biol. Astrid Frisch Jordán

ECOLOGIA Y CONSERVACION DE BALLENAS, AC

www.whalephoto.org

¡Ayúdanos a cuidar a las Ballenas! Sólo utiliza embarcaciones o compañías autorizadas para realizar la observación de ballenas.  Ellos tienen experiencia y obligación de cumplir con las normas de observación de ballenas NOM-131-SEMARNAT-2010.

Embarcaciones y/o Compañías Autorizadas por SEMARNAT para Realizar la Actividad de Observación de Ballenas en Bahía de Banderas, Jalisco-Nayarit, 8 de Diciembre 2012 al 23 de Marzo 2013. Este año SEMARNAT entregó una banderola rosa con morado con el logotipo de SEMARNAT y una ballena jorobada para poder identificar a las embarcaciones autorizadas.  Si la embarcación no tiene este distintivo quiere decir que NO tiene autorización para realizar observación de ballenas esta temporada.

  • Abundia I y II
  • Alamar
  • Albatros
  • Ally-cat
  • Ana I
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  • Blak Rooster
  • Brianna Nicole
  • Cachito II
  • Caiman
  • Catalina III
  • Cesarin I
  • Chica Locca
  • Cielito Lindo
  • Columba, I y II
  • Coral I y III
  • Dadaiky
  • Delfines Gemelos I y II
  • Don Marro
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  • Kevin
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  • La Dolorosa
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