Resolution on Gray Whale Calving Grounds

WHEREAS, Laguna Ojo de Liebre ("Scammon's Lagoon"), Baja California, is the major calving ground of the eastern Pacific stock of the gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus); and

WHEREAS, the gray whale is a unique species of limited distribution with exceptional scientific, esthetic, and potential commercial values; and

WHEREAS, in the past few years a rapidly increasing number of boats, both commercial and private, have been entering Laguna Ojo de Liebre during the calving season (January and February) for the purpose of following and watching the gray whales; and

WHEREAS, repeated disturbance of female whales with newborn calves may increase calf mortality or cause whales to abandon the lagoon;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Society of Mammalogists urges the Government of Mexico to declare all waters of Laguna Ojo de Liebre, except for the area of the main ship channel between the entrance and the salt dock, to be a gray whale calving sanctuary and off limits to all boats and ships from 20 December to 1 March each year; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the American Society of Mammalogists suggests to the Government of Mexico that it formulate regulations to control human activities on the whale calving grounds and that alternate methods be considered to exploit the tourism potential of Laguna Ojo de Liebre that will not jeopardize the survival of the gray whale; one such method might be the construction of observation towers.