The plight of the right whales in the waters off the East Coast has made headlines this summer and continue now that Fall has officially arrived. The most concrete steps taken to deal with the problem include a speed limit for ships in part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and a constraint on some fishing in parts of the Gulf. Additionally, efforts to release the whales from entanglement in fishing gear have been brought to an effective end following the death of whale rescuer Joe Howlett from Campobello Island, New Brunswick.
But it’s uncertain that boat strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are the only, or even the main, causes. Dr. Laura Bourque is a faculty member at the Atlantic Veterinary College in PEI who has been involved in studying the dead whales. She is referred to and quoted in an article posted September 20th:
But Bourque said experts still can’t say definitively what killed any of the whales.
“We know entanglement is an issue right now, and we’re wondering about boat strikes. But it’s going to be a while before we can say anything definitive,” she said.
“In our report we can say ‘yes or no there was evidence of trauma.’ But then we need to pair that with, were there even ships in the area at that time?“
However, another cause has been suggested. Rose Webster has posted many articles on the potential link between mosquito-borne viruses and what the whales feed on. You can see and read about the connection and particularly what she considers the likely link between the whales’ deaths and the deliberate release of Wolbachia-infected male mosquitos. Here are some excerpts from that post:
How the FDA can allow Wolbachia-infected Aedes males to enter our food chain completely baffles me. And the richest people on the planet (not ship strikes, entanglements, or climate change) are probably responsible for the imminent extinction of North Atlantic right whales: Bill & Melinda Gates; Wellcome Trust; Australian, Queensland, UK & Brazilian gov’ts; USAID, Tahija and Gillespie Family Foundations.
Copepods [small marine or freshwater crustaceans that right whales and other animals eat] feed PREFERENTIALLY off of dead Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, eggs, and/or larvae (and other species). Trillions and trillions of Wolbachia-infected Aedes males have been released for the past five to seven years (knowingly).
What do you think happens to Wolbachia-infected Aedes males? They die, eventually. Other organisms, birds, bats, and aquatic species consume them. Rain washes them into streams, lakes, oceans … I think you get the idea.
Krill also consumes mosquitoes, eggs, larvae that end up in oceans via rain, streams, etc. — even dead birds or fish rotting on the shore will have Wolbachia-infected Aedes in them. This washes into the oceans, carried by waves or the tide.
North Atlantic right whales (and other creatures) are vulnerable since they consume massive quantities of copepods, krill, and other zooplankton.
It seems that deliberately infected mosquitos released into the environment over five to seven years may be a major, or perhaps the major, cause of right whale deaths. Isn’t it time that this line of inquiry be pursued by those who care about the whales and are trying to save the species? Rose Webster certainly thinks so and cares.
So who is Rose Webster? Rose is a Canadian freelance writer, researcher, documentary filmmaker, former frontline SARS worker and is educated in nursing, orthotics/prosthetics and ophthalmology (assisting). She has many posts on this topic on InfoBarrel (see for example, here and here) and on YouTube. Her work is well-documented with many references; have a look for yourself. She has also started a petition on this topic: