2011 06 30- Dept of Environmental Protection signs letter of intent with Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanc Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

Government plans to share information on the migration patterns of Humpback whales with specialists in the US, it was announced today.

The Department of Environmental Protection signed a letter of intent with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts this morning.

Director Fred Ming said it was an important first step in ensuring a promising future partnership. It could have the potential to later attract "a wider lineup of international support for the humpback whale on its migrations across the Caribbean Sea, the Sargasso Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean".

"Government is grateful for this unique opportunity to demonstrate a national interest in the humpback whale with the signing of a letter of intent to build an active and cooperative, model relationship with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary that will benefit not only the whales, but also our children, our cultural relationships, local science and tourism."

Local naturalist Andrew Stevenson said the joint initiative sought to improve knowledge on the shared Humpback whale population between the marine sanctuary, which is where they feed and nurse, and their migratory corridor in Bermuda.

"This knowledge could lead to establishing a Sister Sanctuary partnership between the Stellwagen Bank NMS and the Government of Bermuda.

"The letter that we are signing today reflects the clear intention of the participants to foster cooperation on activities of mutual interest and to exchange experience concerning the conservation and management of the endangered Humpback Whale, the respective marine bank ecosystem they frequent and their migratory corridors.

"The signing also signifies a beginning that provides a great opportunity for a most successful collaboration."