"Unlikely" is not acceptable. TEST for ZIKV, WNV, SLEV, and Wolbachia.

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The US gov't (USAID) along with three other gov'ts plus the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation heavily funds Wolbachia-infected Aedes releases (which I believe to be the root cause of these whales' mortality).

This is why NOAA (a US gov't agency) has a HUGE conflict of interest and should NOT even be involved in the investigation alongside the DFO in Canada.

Regarding the ban on rescuing entangled whales: it's been months.

I can understand a week but these whales are generally docile (not vicious, like a bear). We don't stop rescuing people when firemen or helicopter pilots die in the line of duty. This is akin to impeding an investigation. Perhaps even obstruction of justice.

After I was denied access to the NOAA's media conference (re: UME) and my concerns ignored (since April 2017), it's become clear to me that the NOAA should NOT be involved in the investigations into North Atlantic right whale deaths.

Here is precisely why:

David Gouveia, Protected Species Monitoring Program branch chief, NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region, clearly stated:

"What we might glean from the report: A general cause; commercial gear, fishing interactions." 

What's more, the ban on North Atlantic right whale rescues will make pathologists' reports inconclusive.

FACT: The evidence that it's ship strikes and entanglements is extremely weak and pathologists have said these could have occurred after death.

"Blunt trauma could have been inflicted after death." Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward- island/north-atlantic-right-whale-deaths-necropsy-1.4187344 

Tonya Wimmer, director for the Marine Animal Response Society, said:

"There is nothing on them. There doesn't seem to be anything apparent from the outside." Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/six-dead-right-whales-1.4176832

And their low birth rates (which is likely related to Wolbachia infecting their food source*) will not even be looked at in the NOAA's UME.

*ADDENDUM September 24th, 2017:

Calanus finmarchicus consumes both plant and animal and "takes in" in water (at both ends).

Supporting studies:

"Results of microplankton counts indicated C. finmarchicus to be omnivorous." Source: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2014JSR....85..292L

An omnivore is an animal that eats both plants and animals for their main food.

Omnivory has been observed [in Calanus finmarchicus] (Ohman & Runge 1994, Basedow & Tande 2006). Source: http://disccrs.org/files/MEPS_diapause_2008.pdf

The Biology of a Marine Copepod: Calanus finmarchicus (Gunnerus) states on page 122:

"Fox (1952) discussed the oral and anal uptake of water and comes to the conclusion it is not respiratory ... reversed anal peristalsis causes an uptake of water."

Calanus finmarchicus may adapt to increasing water temperatures resulting from global warming by slowly shifting its distribution northward to remain in suitable temperatures.

Source: http://www.geog.mcgill.ca/climatechange/ReportsMap/Calanus%20finmarchicus.pdf

Note the word: "SLOWLY" shifting its distribution northward.

I believe vertebrates are becoming infected with Wolbachia and it's applicable to baleen whales, some birds, shorebirds, and even humans. 

Supporting studies:

1) "Aerial insectivores fell 51 per cent, and shorebird populations declined by 43 per cent, even as waterfowl and birds of prey increased."

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/wwf-living-planet-index-1.4288173

2) Sperm counts have declined by more than half for Western men: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/sperm-count-declining-north-america-europe-australia-1.4220661

"Even though we did not study the causes, it's clearly not genetic causes," Levine said. "It must be the change in the modern lifestyle and the environment that we live."

Worth repeating: the environment that we live.

The study assessing the safety of Wolbachia-infected Aedes releases clearly states:

"The different samples collected were meant to represent a full variety of species or "environment" in which Wolbachia could have disseminated. Samples comprised soil samples, plant leaves and roots, earthworms and millipedes, all collected from inside the enclosure."

Shocking (to me) is they did not test: birds, bats, Culex mosquitoes, planktivorous fish and other aquatic species.

But who funded it? "Financial support: FNIH/Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation/NHMRC."

Study source link: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0074-02762010000800002


Furthermore, only one Canadian, Matthew Hardy, Aquatic Resources Management Division manager, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, appeared to have any input at the NOAA's media conference.

What Canadian pathologists are actually saying:

"We want to make sure that what we see is correct, she added ... But Bourque said experts still can't say definitively what killed any of the whales." Source: http://www.cbc.ca/ news/canada/prince-edward- island/pei-right-whales- necropsies-avc-report-1. 4258918

By anyone's math, 13 to 16 whales (that we know of) dying in the span of two months does NOT point to fishing gear, entanglements, or shipping traffic as the root cause of mortality.

And the richest people on the planet SHOULD be held accountable for poisoning the food chain with Wolbachia-infected Aedes: Bill & Melinda Gates; Wellcome Trust; Australian, Queensland, UK and Brazilian gov'ts; USAID, Tahija and Gillespie Family Foundations.

They are NOT above the law.

Canada, let's stop making the little guy (trying to earn a living on the east coast) or the Canadian taxpayer or the cruise line and shipping industries be the scapegoat in this case.