A team of marine scientists claims that collision between whales and boats is taken place more often across the New England coast then it was assumed earlier.
The researchers exclusively noticed the humpback whale population in the southern Gulf of Maine, a water body present off Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. In this region, nearly 15% of whales that migrate from other places to this region every spring to feed have suffered injuries and scars after striking the boat.
The research published in the journal Marine Mammal Science states that such ratio of boat vessels hitting the whales has been greatly underestimated. The figures estimated by the researchers are also low since it does not include the number of deaths linked to this striking.
The Journal of Marine Biology stated that 108 cases of whale collisions have taken place between 1978 and 2011 across Alaska and 25 cases have resulted in death.
During the study the injuries caused to 624 whales that were photographed between 2004 and 2013 off the coasts of Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. The total 210,733 photographs were differentiated into different types based on injury. Out of the total 624 humpback whales, 92 or 14.7 percent have been injured due to boat vessel striking. Also, total 149 injuries were reported.
It was difficult to assess whether the injury is caused by one or more strikes. Many whales have shown four or less vessel strike and seven of them have shown at least three vessel strike injuries and two of them have shown four or more than four injuries. The researchers also noticed one injured whale calf injured by two separate events.
Whatever the intensity of injury, the researchers agree that whale colliding the boats can be hazardous and needs to be examined.
Alex hill from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, a charity working for protecting the marine mammals, Massachusetts said new programs that can bring new policies and actions needs to be conducted as the whale colliding the boats is harmful to both the whales and the boaters.
These marine mammals when gets stricken by boat in sensitive parts can lead to their death also, the people can get thrown off from the vessel due to this collision.