Thursday, July 15, 2010

Harbour Porpoise Release Program 2010

Our Harbour Porpoise Release Program has been a formal program since 1991. Each year a number of harbour porpoises are trapped in the passive fish traps called herring weirs which are heart shaped traps with a long fence leading to shore made of wooden stakes wrapped with netting. A few floating weirs are also used which are made from PVC pipe in a ring with netting suspended below.

This year has not been an exception with at least three harbour porpoises entrapped. Fortunately two porpoises swam out themselves with the third just reported from the same trap. Small minke whale entrapped in a herring weir. The whale swam out that night without assistance.

There have also been two minke whales entrapped in two different herring weirs, one that has also had the three porpoises and another weir on the western side of Grand Manan. Both minke whales swam out themselves.

Because our researchers are not arriving until the beginning of August, one of the nets specially designed for the safe removal of porpoises from weirs has been made available in the harbour in North Head. The weir operators have free use of the seine.

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