Regulatory News

In April, at the Theme Aquatic Mammals Park in Itamaracá, on the coast of Pernambuco, more than 40 Brazilian marine biologists and other professionals who work in rescue associations for aquatic mammals participated in a training course for rescuing whales and dolphins. The course, never presented in Brazil until now, was taught by members of the U.S. government organization National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The National Coordinator for the Center for Aquatic Mammals (CMA) of the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), biologist Fabia Luna says that the NOAA staff brought the necessary equipment for training. "We were given an NOAA rescue kit, which we sent to the coast of Santa Catarina where there is high incidence of Right Whales. Now we need to produce more kits for other regions of the country," said Fabia.

The researcher says that all 40 researchers who took the course are members of the Beach and Rescue Network coordinated by the CMA. And the need to learn this technology has grown in recent years because of the moratorium on commercial whaling.

"The moratorium led to a large increase in the population of whales. But fishing has increased in recent years too, so more whales have been trapped in fishing nets. Untangling whales from the nets is a dangerous activity and rarely done because Brazil did not have the appropriate technology. We addressed the topic of a training course at the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The danger has now been minimized," says Fabia.

During the training, which lasted one week, two boats were used. The first played the role of the whale and the second was the rescue. "It's a work in motion and it has to be quick and done carefully. A whale can travel for miles and miles entangled in a net. It ends up unable to eat or gets hurt, leading to its death," explained the researcher.

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