Whale Sightings Prompt Rethink

Posted: May 20, 2013  |  By: Taranaki Daily News

Blue whales along the South Taranaki coast might be doing more than just passing through on their way to and from Antarctica.

A recent study by Niwa showed there are more blue whales in the area than expected, and more research was now being done to ensure the region's oil and gas exploration sites didn't harm the species.

Niwa marine ecologist Leigh Torres said shipping and seabed mining activities had been shown to influence blue whales directly by altering their behaviour and affecting their habitat.

The study linked the increase of blue whales in the South Taranaki Bight to large clouds of plankton.

Dr Torres said it was thought the species passed through New Zealand waters only while migrating, but this new information suggested that was inaccurate.


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