BACKGROUND

About the Gray Whales

Each year, the Eastern North Pacific Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus) migrates from its feeding grounds in the Arctic to the warm Mexican waters and Lagunas, a journey of 8,500 to 11,000 miles.

The migration route takes the whales past one of the most heavily industrialised coastlines in the world. Thus exposing the population to marine pollution, vessel traffic, industrial noise and activities associated with the development of the outer continental shelf resources, fishing entanglements, bottom trawling, industrial development, military and non military sonar across its entire range.

The Eastern Pacific Gray Whale is the most ancient Baleen whale alive in the world today.

But the Gray Whales are in the way of the oil and gas industry. Because these are coastal whales, any protection of their migration route threatens industrial development of the continental shelf. The lack of protection of the Gray Whale is driven solely and wholly by vested interests who have zero concern for the continuing survival of these magnificent creatures.

In 1970, the Federal government listed the Whales under the provisions of the Endangered Species Act as Endangered. At that time, the estimated population was approximately 12,000. In 1994, the ENPGW was delisted when the population was estimated to be approximately 23,000.

In l999/2000, the population crashed. Estimates vary, but half to over a third of the population died as a result of starvation. It takes at least 10 years for a whale species to recover from such a crash. Gray whales have not recovered and their essential numbers continue to go down.

Recent genetic research by Professor Stephen Palumbi, Stanford University suggests the original population numbered approximately 118,000. This research means that only a tiny fraction of the original population remains.

According to the US Government, the current population in 2006/7 numbered approximately 18,000. At this level, in the past, the Gray Whale had the protection of the US Endangered Species Act .

Combined with the collapsing population and the effects of climate change, the current status of the Gray Whale is perilous. The population needs to be urgently re-listed under the US Endangered Species Act.

 

Image of gray whale eye closeup

The Eye of the Whale

by Homero Aridjis
(Genesis 1:21) To Betty
And God created the great whales
there in Laguna San Ignacio,
and each creature that moves
in the shadowy thighs of the water.
He created dolphin and sea lion,
blue heron and green turtle,
white pelican, golden eagle,
and the double-crested cormorant.
And God said unto the whales:
“Be fruitful and mutliply
in act of love that may be
seen from the surface
Only through a bubble,
or a fin, slanted,
the female is taken below
by the long prehensive penis;
for there is no splendor greater than the gray
when the light turns it to silver.
Its bottomles breath
is an exhalation”.
And God saw that it was good,
that the whales made love
and played with their young
in the magical lagoon.
And God said:
” Seven whales together
make a procession.
One hundred whales make a dawn.
And the whales came out
to catch a glimpse of God
between the dancing furrows of the waters.
And God was seen through the eye of a whale.
And the whales filled
the oceans of the earth.
And it was the afternoon and the morning
of the fifth day.