Nov. 20, 2014
IMAX Theater at New England Aquarium
1 Central Wharf Boston, MA 02110
Dr. Scott D. Kraus, vice president, Research Department, New England Aquarium
To reduce or eliminate the problem of right whale entanglements in fishing gear, scientists and gear developers have considered the feasibility of enhancing ropes and nets to improve their detection by whales. To determine whether changing the color of the ropes alters the distance at which whales can detect them, we conducted three years of field trials in Cape Cod Bay in the spring months (2011-2013). Right whales appeared to change behavior in order to avoid the experimental "ropes", suggesting that changing commercial fishing rope color may enhance the whale's ability to visually avoid entanglements in the wild. Dr. Kraus will talk about whale vision generally, and then specifically address the feasibility of making fishing gear more visible.