January Workshop Trains Local Staff in Methods for Responding to Entangled Gray Whales
On January 18 & 19, 2014 The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) supported the IWC endorsed, expert training for boat operators, park personnel and researchers in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico. This training workshop included one day on land in a classroom (provided by the Kuyima Eco-Tourism camp) and one day of practical simulation using boats provided by Kuyima and the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur (UABCS) research team. Other support was provided by the IWC and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The IWC and NOAA provided two expert trainers (David Mattila and Ed Lyman), for 34 participants in the classroom, 20 of whom were identified as key recipients for practical training on the water the following day. The trainees included: 12 fishermen/boat operators, 6 from Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT), 2 from UABCS.
A few weeks later, a gray whale calf was observed with fishing line and buoys wrapped around its body. On March 22, 2014 UABCS researchers responded to this incident, and using the special equipment and methods taught to them at the January Workshop, they successfully removed the fishing gear from the small whale. The young whale and its mother swam off without the lines and buoys.