Here is a great article with excellent information on some of the consequences of the recent convergence of marine life (humpback whales in particular) and human wildlife enthusiasts in Monterey Bay. Scott Kathey of MBNMS scores some points for responsible behavior around wildlife and I like to think our discussions at the recent coastal wildlife disturbance summit (of which Scott was a participant) helped guide some of the points he makes. The timing of our summit seems particularly fortuitous considering the issues unfolding just offshore of the venue. The close proximity of humans and marine wildlife (not just whales) in the bay is unprecedented in my memory. There is a sense of anarchy on the water with even the historically “best behaved” of operators making questionable choices about the safety of themselves, other boaters and the wildlife. There is a general perception among observers that the whales’ behavior is unaffected by the chaotic assemblage of boats, kayaks, SUPs, helicopters and drones surrounding their feeding grounds. I find this belief to be questionable and foolish, but we have only opinions and little data to support that. With changing climate, is this to become the morn for awhile? What can we do to address it?
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Seeing marine wildlife in their natural environment is a thrilling experience; however animals need space to find food, choose mates, raise young, socialize and rest.
When we get too close, approach too fast, or make too much noise, we can disrupt these natural behaviors and cause unnecessary stress.
Any activity that disrupts the natural behaviors of marine wildlife is a disturbance.
REPORT A DISTURBANCE
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