Center for Coastal Studies E-Newsletter: Fall 2015

A huge thank you to our 27 volunteers who came out on Saturday, September 19 for a very hot COASTSWEEP Beach Cleanup. 

Together, these hard-working trash collectors gathered over 300 lbs of debris from Provincetown's Long Point beach.

Here are the top ten items recovered:
# 9 - Plastic bottles (47)
# 9 - Glass bottles/containers (47)
# 8 - Plastic wrapping (49)
# 7 - Plastic bags (83)
# 6 - Food wrappers (85)
# 5 - Nets/pieces of netting (114, including about 200 lbs of large nets)
# 4 - Non-descript plastic pieces (145)
# 3 - Balloons/balloon strings (146)
# 2 - Plastic caps/lids (182)
# 1 - R ope (524)
Loading the trash onto Flyer's Shuttle.

1967 pieces of trash in 90 minutes from less than a mile of beach!

Many thanks to Flyer's for once again shuttling the 'Sweepers out to Long Point and for transporting the trash back to the mainland, and to  Napi's Restaurant for providing a delicious and well deserved post-cleanup meal.

Each September and October, thousands of volunteers throughout Massachusetts turn out for COASTSWEEP - the statewide coastal cleanup sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). COASTSWEEP is part of the International Coastal Cleanup organized by Ocean Conservancy in Washington, DC. Volunteers from all over the world collect marine debris - trash, fishing line, and any other human-made items - and record what they find. This information is then analyzed and used to identify sources of marine debris and develop education and policy initiatives to help reduce it. 

Rare Beaked Whale Strands in Provincetown Harbor

Beaked whale
The beaked whale, which beached on the sandflats off the West End of Provincetown, was extremely thin. 
On September 23, the MAER team responded to a report of a stranded whale on the sand flats in Provincetown Harbor; upon arriving at the location, CCS  researchers identified the animal as a rare beaked whale. Sadly the animal died before any rescue attempt could be made.

Representatives from the Stranding Network at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) transported the whale to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where a necropsy was conducted. Unfortunately the results of the examination were inconclusive, so the cause of death is still unknown.

Beaked whales are members of the Ziphiidae family.  Ziphiidae was derived from the Greek word " xiphos " meaning sword so beaked whales are the "sword-nosed whales.
Although approximately one quarter of all cetaceans are classified as beaked whales, relatively little is known about these elusive marine mammals. We do know that they are one of the most widespread families of cetaceans, ranging throughout the oceans from the equator to the ice edges at both the north and south poles. They typically inhabit offshore waters that are at least 300 meters deep. 

Individual species of beaked whale are very difficult to identify, since body form varies very little from one species to another. B ased on its size, morphology and coloration, this individual was tentatively identified as a Sowerby's beaked whale, but further analysis of the whale's jaw and skull may offer up a different conclusion. 

2015 Our Ocean Conference
Richard Delaney, President and CEO of the Center for Coastal Studies, was in Valparaiso, Chile last week for the 2015 Our Ocean ConferenceMore than 500 participants from 56 countries  attended the event. 

The outcome? Over 80 new initiatives on marine conservation and protection valued at more than US$2.1 billion, as well as new commitments on the protection of more than 1.9 million square kilometers of the ocean.

Great results - congratulations and thank you to all involved!
Humpback whale freed by MAER team in July 2015. CCS image, NOAA permit #18786.
After Disentanglement - What Next?

You know by now the immense effort that it takes to free a whale from a potentially life-threatening entanglement.   But did you know that scores of hours are also spent following up each disentanglement ?

Retrieved gear is carefully examined and documented; hours of video and hundreds of photographs are reviewed, analyzed, shared and archived; equipment is inspected and repaired so that it's in top-notch condition for the next emergency response.

When that work is done, the team conducts outreach to recreational and commercial boaters and fishermen, to encourage them to report entanglements to the Hotline; e ven more of their time is spent training responders in the best and safest ways to disentangle large whales; on top of that, they are also conducting research to understand the causes and effects of entanglement, and to determine ways we can reduce or prevent these incidents. 

I think you'll agree that the MAER team, which has just three full-time and two part-time members, could use extra help to share this load.

Last fall you dug into your pockets and made it possible for us to bring back a young trainee named Bob Lynch (pictured right, disentangling a leatherback turtle) on a temporary basis this summer. Bob is gaining knowledge and experience daily, and he has become a vital member of the team.  We would very much like to keep him here year round, so that he can continue to develop his skills.  

And that's where you come in: 

You can make a gift online, by phone (call Deb Magee at 508-487-3622 x 102), or by mail (115 Bradford Street, Provincetown, MA 02657). Please d ig deep, so that we can continue to offer entangled marine animals a second chance at life. 

Thank you for your support of the MAER team - Scott, Lisa, Doug, Jenn and Bob.
Thanking You 24-7-365!

Many thanks to everyone who participated in the 24-7-365 Online Auction.
With your help, we raised more than $23,000 for whale research and rescue. What a result! Thank you, thank you, thank you!