Whale & Seabird News - Summer 2005
 24 years and counting.  
(previous newsletters: 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 )

Our annual newsletter describes our activities in the previous year and outlines plans for the current year.

Table of Contents:

Begun in 1991, the Harbour Porpoise Release Program is a successful co-operative program between the GMWSRS and weir operators.  From 1991 to 2005, we have released more than 800 porpoises from weirs around Grand Manan Island.

In 2004, the Harbour Porpoise Release Program began in late June with the arrival of the release team at the field station on Grand Manan.  Formal weir checks began on July 12th and were carried out every day until September 25th.  A total of 122 porpoises were recorded in weirs.  This was up from the 30 reported in 2003.  Of these 122, 44 swam out unassisted, 19 swam out after the weir twine was dropped, 5 were swept out using the mammal seine and 48 were released.  Four porpoises died while we were attempting to release them, and the fates of the last two are unknown.  These deaths are regrettable but would be much higher if this program did not exist.  This gave us an overall live release rate of 92%comparable with other years.  We seined for harbour porpoises a total of 34 times, between July 25 to September 24 (6 times in July; 14 times in August; 16 times in September).  Usually we see the majority of entrapments in the middle of August, with a few in early September but 2004 was characterized by a late peak in porpoise entrapments.  Porpoises continued to swim into weirs well into September.  The large number of porpoises in September was in stark contrast to the events of 2003 when few porpoises were entrapped.  In addition to there being more porpoises than during 2003, the season was much more protracted.


After a year of red tide in 2003, there were high level of biotoxins in 2004 but not the peak seen the year before.  In 2004 the right whales were slow coming into the Bay with mostly mothers and calves for late July and August.  However, through September the number of right whales grew dramatically.  There were 16 calves born with many mothers bringing their calves into the Bay.  Unfortunately, a well-known mother, Stumpy was hit by a ship, killing her and her near-term foetus.

In 2004 we were prepared to assist with large whale disentanglements throughout the season, along with the Campobello Whale Rescue but none required our response.

We began a preliminary attempt to collect standardized right whale sightings from whale watch vessels using an electonic data logger.  Laurie has been doing through hand-writen records for some time but the time it takes to transpose records and the possible transciption errors can be daunting.  Roxanne Bower helped with this effort and will continue with this in 2005.


In 2004, 62  pairs of common terns nested on Sheep Island, respectively, with approximately 100 eggs laid.  However, 2004 saw poor conditions for terns, including foggy, damp weather during critical periods, lack of appropriately sized prey for the chicks and predation by a northern harrier, herring gulls and possibly night herons.  As a result no tern chicks successfully fledged.  We had an excellent volunteer tern monitors during this time, Carlotta Stoddart who took pride in not only monitoring the progress of the terns but also grew a successful garden - probably the first on Sheep Island in a long time, if ever. Funding came from the New Brunswick Wildlife Trust and private and corporate donations. Access to the island was generously provided by Russell Ingalls and his vessel “Island Bound”.


VISITORS: In 2004 we had 7922 visitors during June through the first part of October.  Our sales per person in the gift shop continues to climb which is excellent and makes it possible to pay some salaries and maintain the facility without looking for outside assistance.  As they say, location is everything and being across from the ferry parking lot is a bonus. We have also had excellent staff with Michelle Doiron, a marine biology student, ably staffing the museum and gift shop (her salary partially funded by a grant from Human Resources Canada), plus our volunteers Sue Stymest, Ken Ingersoll, and Karen McDonald filling in when Laurie was busy with other duties. It is always a challenge as people move or can no longer volunteer to keep the museum and gift shop open during June, Sept. and Oct. without continually recruiting new people. We also have received donations of items for sale from some of our “Friends” such as hand-knit children’s sweaters and matted photographs.  


Dr. Heather Koopman, University of North Carolina, Wilmington
Andrew Westgate, Duke University/Mote Marine Lab
Dr. Aleksija Neimanis, U. Saskatchewan
Laurie Murison
Rob Ronconi, University of Victoria
Sarah Wong, Univ. of Calgary & Dalhousie
Roxanne Bower, Trent University
Research Assistants
Ken Ingersoll, Grand Manan
Margaret Leighton, Mount Allison University
Courtney Wallace MacMullin, Dalhousie University
Museum & Gift Shop Students
Michelle Doiron
Visiting Scientists
Stacy DeRuiter, WHOI
Dave Gillett, Trent University
Dr. Sara Iverson & Dr. Don Bowen, Dalhousie University
Johan Lindsjö, Univ. of Saskatchewan
Tern Project
Brian Dalzell
Russell Ingalls
Carlotta Stoddard
Family and Friends
Ken & Elaine Bower
Dr. Sue Budge
Megan Hamilton
Anne & Arnold Koopman
Tallya MacMullin & Andrew
John, Ieva  Aelita Neimanis
Scott Sherin
Keenan Griffin   
Gordon Kempton
Matthew Lambert   
Karen McDonald
Sarah McDonald   
Josh McGeown
Pat Miller   
Marion Murison
Sue Stymest   
Todd Watkins
Canines: Skye & Taj

If you wish to continue or are not already a Friend please fill in the form. If you know someone who would like to be added to our list, please pass this information along. 

Shirley Alcoe, Fredericton, NB
Dr. Fred & Leda Arensberg, Grand Manan, NB David Barbara, Rahway, NJ
Tom & Paula Bartlett, Tiffin, OH
Michael Blair, Montreal, QC
Newton Bowles, New York, NY
Gene & Karen Brewer, New York, NY
Dr. Jules & Patricia Burgevin, Trumansburg, NY Mary Lou Campbell, Grand Manan, NB
Lyn Center, Toronto, ON
David Christie, Harvey, Albert Co., NB
Ann Chudleigh, Chelsea, QC
Lena & Eldon Clelland, Kincardine, ON
Raymond & Mary Cousins, Aurora, ON
Marie Crawford, Etobicoke, ON
James Cruickshank, Needham, MA
Robert & Claire Cunningham, Lincoln, MA
Anne Innis Dagg, Waterloo, ON
L.A. Daggett, Grand Manan, NB
Brenda Dale, Sherwood Park, AB
Halton Dalzell, Fredericton, NB
Virginia & Stephen Damon, Tamworth, NH
Terry Davidson, Markham, ON
Keith & Jennifer Davis, Nepean, ON
Alma Jean Day, Brights Grove, ON
Tracey Dean, Bayside, NB
Henrik & Joanne Deichmann, Summerville, Kings Co., NB
Ernest Donaldson, Belwood, ON
Stephanie Eaton, Grand Manan, NB
Baruch Brian & Andrea Fischhoff, Pittsburgh, PA
James N. Gardiner, Scarborough, ON
Marianne Garvin, Washington Elemen-tary School, Washington, NH
Sheila Gibbs, Chatham, ON
Rolande Gough-Ellis, Belleville, ON
Joan Green, Fredericton, NB
Bill & Pam Gudgeon, Burlington, ON
Frances Hodge, Westmount, QC
Charlotte Hollister, Debra Pauquette, Whitehall, NY
Linda Hutchings, Calgary, AB
Russell Ingalls, Grand Manan, NB
Douglas  Jackson, Fredericton, NB
Charles Jefferson, Ottawa, ON
Anne Jeffrey, Columbus, OH
Anne & Arnold Koopman, Campbellville, ON
Linda L'Aventure, Grand Manan, NB
Hayden Leaman, Fredericton, NB
Roger LeBlanc, Moncton, NB
Andrea Lebowitz, North Vancouver, BC
Legislative Assembly, Legislative Library, Fredericton,  NB
Eleanor Linberg, Schenectady, NY
Jean Loggie, Moncton, NB
Lana  Mahaits, Windsor, ON
Mary Majka, Harvey, NB
Elaine & Rodger Maker, Grand Manan, NB
Daniel Taillon, Marie Cousineau, Saint Lazare, QC
Joan Marshall, Hudson, QC
Sandra McFarlane, Halifax, NS
Dr. Kenneth McKenna, Stellarton, NS
Ralf & Jennifer Multhopp, Broadkill Beach, Milton, DE
M.T. Neal, Richmond Hill, ON
Mary Neal, Richmond Hill, ON
Dr. Ieva Neimanis, Hamilton, ON
Aislinn Otthoff, Silver Springs, MD
John Pike Grady, Eastport, ME
Ann Posen, Toronto, ON
Dr. Yolande Prenoveau, Pierrefonds, QC
Jan Purvis, London, ON
Lorna Ritchie, Grand Manan,  NB
Carmen & Peter Roberts, Grand Manan, NB
Bill & Sandy Rogers, Gaithersburg, MD
Ruth Rogers, Fredericton, NB
Margaret Schram, Claverack, NY
Marcia Schultz, Saint Paul, MN
Dr. David Sergeant, Hudson, QC
Kathy Sessamen, Saint John, NB
Heather Silliker, Colpitts Settlement, NB
Basil Small, Grand Manan, NB
Jane & Andrew Smart, Toronto, ON
Marcia Stephen, Orillia, ON
Lloyd Strickland, Ottawa, ON
Susan & Mike Stymest, Pickering, ON
Michael  Turner, Scarborough, ON
Rohan van Twest, Guelph, ON
Harry Walker, Miramichi, NB
Doreen Wallace, Fredericton, NB
Hazel Waugh, Windsor, ON
Edith Weber, Wyedale, ON
Roy & Kathy Wheeler, Nepean, ON
Don & Alma White, Moncton, NB
Douglas & Phyllis Whitman, Moncton, NB
Brian Wiese, Shanty Bay, ON
Dennis Wood, Toronto, ON
Rosemarie Zucker, Toronto, ON

Nina Davies
Wiley Kempton
Maria Lynas
Patricia Moule


Summer Students

Human Resources Development Canada
Harbour Porpoise Release Program (HPRP) Support
International Fund for Animal Welfare
Whale & Dolphin ConservationSociety
Right Whale Education

Canadian Whale Institute

Sheep Island Tern Restoration 
New Brunswick Wildlife Trust
  • Russell Ingalls (boat support for the Sheep Island Tern restoration project)
  • Herring weir operators
  • Atlantic Mariculture (WCF) 
  • Connors Brothers (Harbour Porpoise Release Program)
  • Eastern Wind Power (FBO)
  • Fundy Hiking and Nature Tours (WCF)
  • Grand Manan SeaLand Adventures (WCF) 
  • Hole-in-the-Wall Park (WCF)
  • Huntsman Marine Science Centre (HPRP)
  • Marathon Inn (FBO)
  • Moncton Naturalist Club (FBO)
  • Whales-n-Sails Adventures (WCF) 
WCF = Whale Conservation Fund

Scientific Papers, Book Chapters:

  • Neimanis, A.S., H.N. Koopman, A.W. Westgate, L.D. Murison, A.J. Read.  2004.  Entrapment of harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) in herring weirs in the Bay of Fundy, Canada.  Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 6:7-17.
  • Dalzell, B.E. 2004.  A checklist of Grand Manan Birds. 22pp.  Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station.

Learned Societies Presentations

  • Murison, L.  2004.  Marine mammals encountered off Grand Manan.  Grand Manan Museum weekly evening series, Grand Manan, NB, August 24.
  • Murison, L. 2004.  Preliminary results for phalarope sightings off the eastern shores of Grand Manan Island, NB, between June and September, 1990-2004, as observed from a whale watching vessel.  Workshop: Where have all the phalaropes gone?, St. Andrews, NB, 25-26 October. 
  • Wong, Sarah . 2004 "Chasing a puffing pig: rescue, research and conservation." University of Victoria Vertebrate Symposium, November 2004.

  • The Harbour Porpoise Release Program (entering 14th year) and continued testing of new mammal seine. 
  • Continued porpoise health assessment and Brucellosis exposure; studies to reduce stress in porpoises during handling.
  • Collection of marine mammal tissues for other researchers.
  • Disentanglement of large whales and response to reports of dead marine mammals on or around Grand Manan.
  • Right Whale education project involving 1. the use of electronic recorders on whale watch vessels and 2. exposure of local students, fishermen and others to right whales through slide presentations and whale watching
  • Right Whale Lipid Faecal Analysis
  • Nutritional Quality of Herring for Higher Predators
  • Continuation of the FBO Sheep Island Tern restoration project
  • Shearwater feeding study to be used as an indicator of important feeding areas
  • Open as usual our marine natural history museum and gift shop - June through early October. 
  • Welcoming visiting scientists working on Grand Manan.
  • Continued involvement in conservation issues including Right Whale Recovery, oil spill preparedness, etc.

  • We appreciate your support and look forward to a continued friendship. Please fill out the donation form
    and help us continue our programs.

(previous newsletters: 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 )

Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station Inc.
24 Route 776, Grand Manan, NB, Canada, E5G 1A1

© 2004 Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station Inc.

This page designed by revised October 11, 2006