Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 31 Issue 02

View Issue TOC
Volume 31, No. 2
Pages 19 - 23

OCEAN POLICY • Marine Species Range Shifts Necessitate Advanced Policy Planning: The Case of the North Atlantic Right Whale

Erin L. Meyer-Gutbrod Charles H. GreeneKimberley T.A. Davies
Article Abstract

Rising global temperatures are causing a poleward shift in species distribution. Range shift velocities are higher in the marine environment, with observed rates of 30–130 km per decade. Both protected and exploited species will be at risk if marine species management policies are not structured to anticipate these range shifts. The 2017 mass mortality event of the North Atlantic right whale showcases the detrimental impact of unanticipated climate-mediated behavior in a species protected by geographically and seasonally fixed policies. Based on the results of a demographic capture-​recapture model, right whales may face extinction in fewer than 30 years unless protective policies are expanded to cover their shifting distribution. Increased support of long-term monitoring programs paired with environmental modeling research is critical to developing more proactive conservation management strategies and preventing further ecological crises.

Citation

Meyer-Gutbrod, E.L., C.H. Greene, and K.T.A. Davies. 2018. Marine species range shifts necessitate advanced policy planning: The case of the North Atlantic right whale. Oceanography 31(2):19–23, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2018.209.

References

Allison, E.H., A.L. Perry, M.C. Badjeck, W.N. Adger, K. Brown, D. Conway, A.S. Halls, G.M. Pilling, J.D. Reynolds, N.L. Andrew, and N.K. Dulvy. 2009. Vulnerability of national economies to the impacts of climate change on fisheries. Fish and Fisheries 10(2):173–196, https://doi.org/​10.1111/j.1467-2979.2008.00310.x.

Baumgartner, M.F., D.M. Fratantoni, T.P. Hurst, M.W. Brown, T.V. Cole, S.M. Van Parijs, and M. Johnson. 2013. Real-time reporting of baleen whale passive acoustic detections from ocean gliders. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 134(3):1,814–1,823, https://doi.org/​10.1121/1.4816406.

Cheung, W.W., V.W. Lam, J.L. Sarmiento, K. Kearney, R.E.G. Watson, D. Zeller, and D. Pauly. 2010. Large-scale redistribution of maximum fisheries catch potential in the global ocean under climate change. Global Change Biology 16(1):24–35, https://doi.org/​10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01995.x.

Daoust, P.-Y., E.L. Couture, T. Wimmer, and L. Bourque. 2017. Incident Report: North Atlantic Right Whale Mortality Event in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 2017. Collaborative report produced by the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Marine Animal Response Society, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 256 pp.

Davis, G.E., M.F. Baumgartner, J.M. Bonnell, J. Bell, C. Berchok, J.B. Thornton, S. Brault, G. Buchanan, R.A. Charif, D. Cholewiak, and C.W. Clark. 2017. Long-term passive acoustic recordings track the changing distribution of North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) from 2004 to 2014. Scientific Reports 7(1):13460, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-13359-3.

Davies, K.T.A., C.T. Taggart, and R.K. Smedbol. 2014. Water mass structure defines the diapausing copepod distribution in a right whale habitat on the Scotian Shelf. Marine Ecology Progress Series 497:69–85, https://doi.org/10.3354/meps10584.

Davies, K.T.A., A.S.M. Vanderlaan, R.K. Smedbol, and C.T. Taggart. 2015. Oceanographic connectivity between right whale critical habitats and its influence on whale abundance indices during 1987–2009. Journal of Marine Systems 150:80–90, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2015.05.005.

Devine, L., M. Scarratt, S. Plourde, P.S. Galbraith, S. Michaud, and C. Lehoux. 2017. Chemical and Biological Oceanographic Conditions in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence During 2015. Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Research Document 2017/034, 53 pp., http://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/40613537.pdf.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2014. Recovery Strategy for the North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) in Atlantic Canadian Waters. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa, 75 pp.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2018. Government of Canada unveils its plan for protecting North Atlantic right whales in 2018. News release NR-HQ-18-13E, 1–3.

Greene, C.H. 2016. North America’s iconic marine species at risk due to unprecedented ocean warming. Oceanography 29(3):14–17, https://doi.org/​10.5670/oceanog.2016.67.

Greene, C.H., E. Meyer-Gutbrod, B.C. Monger, L.P. McGarry, A.J. Pershing, I.M. Belkin, P.S. Fratantoni, D.G. Mountain, R.S. Pickart, A. Proshutinsky, and others. 2013. Remote climate forcing of decadal-scale regime shifts in Northwest Atlantic shelf ecosystems. Limnology and Oceanography 58(3):803–816, https://doi.org/​10.4319/lo.2013.58.3.0803.

Grieve, B.D., J.A. Hare, and V.S. Saba. 2017. Projecting the effects of climate change on Calanus finmarchicus distribution within the US northeast continental shelf. Scientific Reports 7(1):6264, https://doi.org/​10.1038/s41598-017-06524-1.

Hamilton, P.K., A.R. Knowlton, and M.K. Marx. 2007. Right whales tell their own stories: The photo-​identification catalog. Chapter 1 in The Urban Whale: North Atlantic Right Whales at a Crossroads. S.D. Kraus and R.M. Rolland, eds, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Hazen, E.L., S. Jorgensen, R.R. Rykaczewski, S.J. Bograd, D.G. Foley, I.D. Jonsen, S.A. Shaffer, J.P. Dunne, D.P. Costa, L.B. Crowder, and B.A. Block. 2013. Predicted habitat shifts of Pacific top predators in a changing climate. Nature Climate Change 3(3):234–238, https://doi.org/​10.1038/​nclimate1686.

Johnson, C., E. Devred, B. Casault, E. Head, and J. Spry. 2017. Optical, Chemical, and Biological Oceanographic Conditions on the Scotian Shelf and in the Eastern Gulf of Maine in 2015. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Science Advisory Secretariat, Research Document 2017/012, 53 pp, http://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/350267.pdf.

Jossi, J.W., and J.M. Kane. 2013. An Atlas of the Dominant Zooplankton Collected along a Continuous Plankton Recorder Transect between Massachusetts USA and Cape Sable NS, 1961–2008. US Department of Commerce, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Ref Doc. 13-12, 104 pp.

Knowlton, A.R., P.K. Hamilton, M.K. Marx, H.M. Pettis, and S.D. Kraus. 2012. Monitoring North Atlantic right whale Eubalaena glacialis entanglement rates: A 30 yr retrospective. Marine Ecology Progress Series 466:293–302, https://doi.org/​10.3354/meps09923.

Knowlton, A.R., J. Robbins, S. Landry, H. McKenna, S.D. Kraus, and T.B. Werner. 2016. Effects of fishing gear strength on the severity of large whale entanglements. Conservation Biology 30:318–328, https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12590.

Kraus, S.D., M.W. Brown, H. Caswell, C.W. Clark, M. Fujiwara, P.K. Hamilton, R.D. Kenney, A.R. Knowlton, S. Landry, C.A. Mayo, and W.A. McLellan. 2005. North Atlantic right whales in crisis. Science 309(5734):561–562, https://doi.org/​10.1126/​science.1111200.

Kraus, S.D., R.D. Kenney, C.A. Mayo, W.A. McLellan, M.J. Moore, and D.P. Nowacek. 2016. Recent scientific publications cast doubt on North Atlantic right whale future. Frontiers in Marine Science 3:137, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2016.00137.

Laist, D.W., A.R. Knowlton, and D. Pendleton. 2014. Effectiveness of mandatory vessel speed limits for protecting North Atlantic right whales. Endangered Species Research 23(2):133–147, https://doi.org/​10.3354/esr00586.

Meyer-Gutbrod, E.L., C.H. Greene, P.J. Sullivan, and A.J. Pershing. 2015. Climate-associated changes in prey availability drive reproductive dynamics of the North Atlantic right whale population. Marine Ecology Progress Series 535:243–258, https://doi.org/​10.3354/meps11372.

Meyer-Gutbrod, E.L., and C.H. Greene. 2018. Uncertain recovery of the North Atlantic right whale in a changing ocean. Global Change Biology 24(1):455–464, https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13929.

Michaud, J., and C.T. Taggart. 2011. Spatial variation in right whale food, Calanus finmarchicus, in the Bay of Fundy. Endangered Species Research 15:179–194, https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00370.

NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service). 2016. Endangered and threatened species; Critical habitat for endangered North Atlantic right whale. Federal Register 81(17):4,838−4,874,https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/regs/2016/January/16narwchfinalrule.pdf.

NOAA Fisheries, 2018. 2017 North Atlantic Right Whale Unusual Mortality Event, https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/insight/frequent-questions-​2017-north-atlantic-right-whale-unusual-​mortality-event.

Pace, R.M. III, P.J. Corkeron, and S.D. Kraus. 2017. State–space mark–recapture estimates reveal a recent decline in abundance of North Atlantic right whales. Ecology and Evolution 7(21):8,730–8,741, https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3406.

Patrician, M.R., and R.D. Kenney. 2010. Using the Continuous Plankton Recorder to investigate the absence of North Atlantic Right Whales (Eubalaena glacialis) from the Roseway Basin foraging ground. Journal of Plankton Research 32(12):1,685–1,695, https://doi.org/10.1093/plankt/fbq073.

Pershing, A.J., E.H. Head, C.H. Greene, and J.W. Jossi. 2010. Pattern and scale of variability among Northwest Atlantic Shelf plankton communities. Journal of Plankton Research 32(12):1,661–1,674, https://doi.org/10.1093/plankt/fbq058.

Pettis, H.M. 2012. North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium 2012 Annual Report Card. Report to the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, November 2012.

Pettis, H.M., and P.K. Hamilton. 2010. North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium 2010 Annual Report Card. Report to the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, November 2010.

Pettis, H.M., and P.K. Hamilton. 2011. North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium 2011 Annual Report Card. Report to the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, November 2011.

Pettis, H.M., R.M. Pace III, R.S. Schick, and P.K. Hamilton. 2017. North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium Annual Report Card. Report to the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, October 2017.

Pinsky, M.L., and M. Fogarty. 2012. Lagged social-​ecological responses to climate and range shifts in fisheries. Climatic Change 115(3–4):883–891, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10584-012-0599-x.

Reygondeau, G., and G. Beaugrand. 2011. Future climate-driven shifts in distribution of Calanus finmarchicus. Global Change Biology 17(2):756–766, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02310.x.

Vanderlaan, A.S., and C.T. Taggart. 2009. Efficacy of a voluntary area to be avoided to reduce risk of lethal vessel strikes to endangered whales. Conservation Biology 23(6):1,467–1,474, https://doi.org/​10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01329.x.

van der Hoop, J.M., M.J. Moore, S.G. Barco, T.V. Cole, P.Y. Daoust, A.G. Henry, D.F. McAlpine, W.A. McLellan, T. Wimmer, and A.R. Solow. 2013. Assessment of management to mitigate anthropogenic effects on large whales. Conservation Biology 27(1):121–133, https://doi.org/​10.1111/​j.1523-1739.2012.01934.x.