Endangered Sea Turtle Killed by Plastic Beach Chair Shows the Impact of Our Carelessness

onegreenplanet.org
Aleksandra Pajda

A photograph of a critically endangered sea turtle found dead after a tragic incident of entanglement shows with tragic clarity what are the repercussions of lack of respect for natural spaces and their inhabitants. The extremely rare animal – a Kemp’s Ridley turtle – was found during the morning turtle patrol on an Alabama beach with a beach chair string wrapped around the neck.

The heartbreaking picture of the strangled turtle washed up at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge was shared by the Fort Morgan Share the Beach group on Facebook. Share the Beach spokeswoman Debbie Harbin pointed out that barnacles were found on the chair, which means that it had been in the water for quite some time, KMOV.com reports. “How many hundreds of times do we have to ask people to pick their stuff up?” Harbin wondered. “It should just be common decency.”
“This is why we ask people to ‘Leave Only Footprints’, ‘Leave No Trace’, pick up after themselves when they leave the beach,” wrote Matt Ware, research assistant at Florida State University. “Please be responsible when visiting the beach — you are not the only one who uses it.”
The Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, or the Atlantic Ridley sea turtle, is the rarest and most endangered existing species of sea turtle. The species nests only along a small stretch of coastline in the Gulf of Mexico, and the many threats that affect their population include habitat loss and degradation, wildlife trade, bycatch, climate change, and pollution. The turtle has been on the endangered species list since 1970.

“Sea turtles are important enough that we will go to whatever lengths we can to protect them,” Richard Brewer, a volunteer with Share the Beach, told WALA-TV. “It’s very heartbreaking to know that it’s something that could have been prevented.” And prevented so easily.

The death of the turtle is another painfully strong reminder that our actions have serious consequences, even if to some it may seem otherwise. Littering and leaving our things behind on beaches and in other natural spaces is not only thoughtless and selfish, but often it very literally endangers the lives of wild animals. The incredibly precious rare sea turtle was found when nothing could be done to save the animal’s life anymore – but, hopefully, the story and the pictures will not leave anyone who sees them indifferent.

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/endangered-sea-turtle-killed-beach-chair/?utm_source=Green+Monster+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=c4574fe86e-NEWSLETTER_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bbf62ddf34-c4574fe86e-106049477

To learn about how you can reduce the amount of waste you create every day. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/endangered-sea-turtle-killed-beach-chair/?utm_source=Green+Monster+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=c4574fe86e-NEWSLETTER_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_bbf62ddf34-c4574fe86e-106049477 here.

All image source: Matt Ware/Facebook

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Denounce Repeal of Protections for America’s Marine Life and Oceans

Ocean and lake conservation is out. Offshore drilling and corporate greed are in. The Trump Administration just took a hatchet to initiatives shielding marine life and environments. Demand an end to reckless policies that are slowly killing the environment.

Source: Denounce Repeal of Protections for America’s Marine Life and Oceans

Autopsy Reveals The Death Of A Green Sea Turtle Was Due To Plastic

seavoicenews.com
all posts by Alex Larson →

Photo: Department of Marine and Coastal Resources via ReReef

Last week we learned that news that a whale had died due to eating 80 plastic bags and now there is another example of the devastating impact plastic is having on the oceans.

Thailand’s marine officials announced in a report that a green sea turtle was found dead due to plastic that had filled the reptiles stomach.

The turtle was found washed ashore near Chonburi’s Lamchabang Port still living but two days later it died even after receiving medical attention.

Photo: Department of Marine and Coastal Resources via ReReef

The autopsy revealed that was filled with items such as rubber bands, nylon rope, plastic bags and loose pieces of fishing gear. The department’s veterinarian team concluded that the sea creature suffered from a resultant loss of appetite and low levels of protein in its bloodstream, leading to cysts that ultimately resulted in heart failure.

Countries across the world are making a effort to reduce pollution by taking pivotal steps to clean up the environment. One of the many encouraging examples of this over the last year, is India who recently made the decision to ban all single-use plastic by 2022.

Unfortunately for the ocean and the marine life, we have gone way too long looking the other way from the problems we have created and we are now facing the reality where we are finding marine animals regularly dying due to what we have done to our planet.

You can start making a change immediately by saying no to single-use items, reducing plastic usage, and spreading the message of the negative impact single-use plastics have on the world’s oceans.

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/06/12/autopsy-reveals-the-death-of-a-green-sea-turtle-was-due-to-plastic/

Balloon Releases Are Killing Wildlife and Marine Animals – Here’s What You Can Do Instead

onegreenplanet.org
Balloon Releases Are Killing Wildlife and Marine Animals – Here’s What You Can Do Instead
Arianna Pittman

For years, balloon releases have been used to celebrate events or honor the memory of someone lost. Schools release them during football games, they’re sent floating into the air at running events, and released by crowds of people at weddings, funerals, and memorials. And while those who organize and participate in balloon releases have the best of intentions, what they fail to consider is what happens when those balloons eventually land – and when they do the results are detrimental to wildlife and marine animals.

The Long-Lasting Impact of Balloons

Balloons negatively impact our environment by littering streams, lakes, and beaches. It’s basically the same as intentionally throwing trash on the ground or into the ocean. Even balloons marketed as biodegradable or “eco-friendly” can still take years to disintegrate, meaning they’re not any better for the environment than standard balloons.

The Devastating Effects Balloon Releases Have on Wildlife and Marine Animals and What You Can Do About ItBalloonsBlow.Org/Facebook

When balloons make their way into the water, their tattered ends and floating pieces can resemble jellyfish or other sea life consumed by marine animals such as sea turtles, fish, and dolphins. When the pieces of latex or Mylar are mistaken for food and ingested, they can get lodged in the digestive tract, inhibiting animal’s ability to eat and causing a slow and painful death by starvation.

Wildlife can also fall victim to balloons and balloon strings when the pieces fall to the ground or onto trees and bushes. Birds have been found injured with ribbons wrapped around their beaks or wings, and have strangled themselves when they become entangled in strings attached to trees or power lines. And just like marine animals, they can succumb to a painful death after ingesting balloons.

The negative impact on animals and the environment prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local chapters of the National Audubon Society to urge people to stop releasing balloons and instead find more humane alternatives that are safer for animals and our planet. Several states and cities in the U.S. and abroad have also passed laws regarding mass balloon releases after years of witnessing their detrimental effects.

The Devastating Effects Balloon Releases Have on Wildlife and Marine Animals and What You Can Do About It

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

What You Can Do

If you know of someone planning a balloon release, please urge them to consider one of these earth- and animal-friendly options instead. There are so many other symbolic acts that don’t involve the use of balloons. We’ve listed a few options for you below, and you can find more by that offers not only fun alternatives but educational materials to help you spread awareness about the dangers of balloons and balloon releases.

Bubbles

Bubblesare not only fun but can create stunning photo ops. Watching hundreds of bubbles float up into the sky can be mesmerizing and just as symbolic as seeing a balloon float away, but without the resulting of litter and endangerment to wildlife and marine animals.

Luminaries

Luminaries are a beautiful way to honor and memorialize loved ones. Instead of writing messages on balloons and releasing them, you can write messages on recycled paper bags or reusable glass jars with candles placed inside to create a lighted path, or spell out a word or name. Each person can bring their bag or jar home afterward as a personal keepsake to remember the event.
Plant a Tree

Planting native trees and wildflowers is a beautiful way to create a memory that lasts for years to come – and give a little something back to nature. Another fun idea is to have people release milkweed seeds, which helps populations of monarch butterflies thrive by replenishing depleted supplies of the milkweed plant that is essential to their survival. Just remember: If you choose to plant trees or flowers somewhere other than your own yard, make sure you have prior permission if it’s a public park or nature area, as they often have restrictions about potentially invasive species of plants.

Celebrations and commemorative events are meant to allow us to reflect on important times in our lives, there is no reason these should come at the expense of wild animals.

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/balloon-releases-are-killing-animals/

Lead image source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service/Flickr

Petition: STARBUCKS, STOP USING PLASTIC STRAWS

by: Stephanie M
target: Howard Schultz and Kevin Johnson, Starbucks Corporation

134,864 SUPPORTERS -140,000 GOAL

Americans use 500 million plastic straws every single day.

This severely impacts us, future generations, and our precious marine life. It is estimated in the year 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans.

I would like to see Starbucks, the company I work for, help lead the way to shrink our footprint on the planet. Plastic straws are too lightweight to be recycled, and oftentimes are made out of the same plastic as Styrofoam which CANNOT be recycled. There are many different alternatives to plastic straws! Many companies have started using compostable straws or paper straws.

Plastic straws can be horrible for wildlife. The photo above is from a painful-to-watch video of researchers in Costa Rica struggling to remove an obstruction from the nasal passage of a sea turtle. During the cringe-inducing effort, they realize they are battling a cocktail straw.

I believe we can help the world’s largest coffeshop chain make the switch too. If Starbucks sees this petition filled with thousands of people that care about our environment I am positive that this environmentally responsible corporation will make a change for a healthier planet.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/360/196/292/?z00m=30543843&redirectID=2678574490

 

Costa Rica Makes Santa Elena Bay a Mrine Protected Area

SantaElenaBay

Thanks to the effort of neighbors of the areas of Cuajiniquil, El Jobo and Puerto Soley in La Cruz, Guanacaste, the 732.1 hectares that make up Santa Elena Bay are now a Marine Protected Area. The objective of establishing this zone as a Marine Management Area is to reserve it for particular purposes, among them the conservation of marine life, the promotion of recreation and tourism and the sustainable use of its resources, particularly fishing resources. Santa Elena Bay receives several marine species with reproductive purposes, among them, dolphins, whales, turtles and other pelagic species like the whale shark, which…

Source: Costa Rica Makes Santa Elena Bay a Marine Protected Area

Petition: Imprisoning and Harassing Animals in a MALL? | Save Animals

action.peta2.com
Imprisoning and Harassing Animals in a MALL? | Save Animals
2-3 minutes

UN LAB Middleware Label: Description Begins

UN INT Intro Text w/ Responsive Image – Important Note You must UNLINK this shared library component before making page-specific customizations.

There have been reports of animal neglect at aquariums owned by Vince Covino, the owner of SeaQuest Aquariums. And although he shouldn’t even be allowed near animals if you ask us, a mall in California is letting his company open an aquarium there. 😠

Not only will the animals be confined to tanks that can never compare to their vast ocean homes, some are also set to be subjected to stressful physical encounters with humans.

At another aquarium that he owned with his brother Ammon—which is now closed—more than 200 animals reportedly died over the course of three months, many allegedly from starvation, infections, and other seemingly preventable causes.

Vince was recently fined $5,000 for failing to disclose information to investors, and Ammon has been thrown in prison more than once for violating his probation stemming from his felony wildlife conviction.

Last spring, former SeaQuest employees came forward with reports of animal neglect at the Las Vegas aquarium. One said that he saw “hundreds of animals” die, 😢 and the Metropolitan Police Department issued citations to the aquarium following complaints.

Despite having learned about Vince’s apparent disregard for the law and animal-welfare concerns at his aquariums, Palladio at Broadstone in Folsom, California, still plans to allow him to set up shop there with an aquarium that will feature public interactions that can expose sensitive animals to harassment or harm.
Ask TRI Commercial Property Management, the company that manages the mall, not to allow aquariums at its properties moving forward.

https://action.peta2.com/page/5398/action/1?utm_source=peta2::E-Mail&utm_medium=E-News&utm_campaign=0518::gen::peta2::E-Mail::P2%20Missions%20Recap%20May%2020%20EA::::p2%20e-news&ea.url.id=81391

When will sardines return? Not any time soon say scientists

By Annie Roth, newsroom@montereyherald.com

Neil Guglielmo, a 76-year-old commercial fisherman, says he doubts the sardine stock will bounce back in his lifetime. (Annie Roth — Herald Correspondent)
Neil Guglielmo, a 76-year-old commercial fisherman, says he doubts the sardine stock will bounce back in his lifetime. (Annie Roth — Herald Correspondent)

Monterey >> Less than 30 years after the Pacific sardine population was deemed “recovered,” the stock has once again fallen into a severe slump according to stock assessments conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Scientists estimate the West Coast population of Pacific sardines has declined by 95 percent since 2006. Although sardine populations naturally fluctuate in response to shifting climatic conditions, overharvesting is believed to have accelerated the stock’s collapse. Although no one knows exactly how long it will take for the sardine supply to replenish, many scientists are certain it won’t be anytime soon.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the stock didn’t come back for 20 years.” said Dr. Geoff Shester, California program director and senior scientist at Oceana, the world’s largest ocean conservation non-profit.

In 2012, scientists from the National Marine Fishery Service warned that another collapse was imminent — but this warning went largely unheeded. When this warning was issued, sardine biomass was still above the 150,000 ton threshold required for commercial fishing. The Pacific Fishery Management Council — whose members include fishermen, industry stakeholders, and federal and state officials from the National Marine Fisheries Service — said there wasn’t enough evidence of decline to justify a moratorium on commercial sardine fishing.

Sardine fishing continued until 2015, when the stock fell below the commercial cutoff and the directed fishery was closed. Shester believes the council’s failure to take precautionary measures made a bad situation worse.

“Because the population was already declining, and fishing made it worse, the stock is going to have a lot more trouble recovering than it would have had had we stopped fishing earlier,” said Shester.

Pacific sardines were on the rise during the early 2000s, but in 2006 the population took an unexpected downturn. Estimates suggest the Pacific sardine population decreased from 1.8 million tons to 86,000 tons between 2006 and 2017. The latest assessment puts the size of the Pacific sardine stock at a mere 52,065 tons, a fraction of the 150,000 ton threshold required for commercial fishing.

“Ultimately, a trade off was made to fish in the short term, and that’s now having this detrimental consequence that may last for decades,” said Shester.

Sardines are an important food source for several marine species including sea lions, salmon, brown pelicans, dolphins, and whales, and in California — whose coastal waters boast relatively large numbers of Pacific sardines — the fallout of their decline continues to be evident from shore.

Starving California sea lion pups have been washing up on beaches by the thousands since 2012, most suffering from malnutrition. According to a press release issued by the Marine Mammal Center in 2013, “The sardine and anchovy fish numbers were extremely low in 2012, and it appears this resulted in female adult sea lions having a difficult time providing enough nourishment to their pups.” Scientists estimate that 70 percent of California sea lion pups born between 2013 and 2014 died before weaning age due to a lack of nutrient rich food.

Even though the commercial sardine fishery is closed, you might still see sardines on the menu. The Pacific Fishery Management Council allows a few thousand tons to be harvested by fishermen who catch them incidentally or intend to sell them as live bait. In April, the council set an incidental catch limit of 7,000 tons for the 2018 fishing season.

Shester says this year’s incidental catch quota is “irresponsibly high” and considers the council’s decision to continue allowing a limited harvest a step in the wrong direction.

“There is no level of sustainable fishing on a stock that’s collapsing,” said Shester.

Fishermen rarely meet incidental catch quotas simply because it is very difficult to catch sardines by accident. In order to commercially land sardines caught incidentally, they have to make up less than 40 percent of your catch. Because sardines rarely form schools with other marketable species, achieving this ratio can be challenging.

If Pacific sardine biomass falls below 50,000 tons, fishery managers are required to close the live bait fishery and implement a moratorium on incidental harvest. In 2018, the estimated sardine stock was only 2,000 tons over this threshold. If current trends continue, it’s unlikely the stock will make this cutoff next year — but many fishermen have high hopes that it will.

In a press release issued earlier this month, Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association, said “fishermen are seeing more sardines, not less, especially in nearshore waters.”

Not only does Pleschner-Steele reject the notion that overfishing played a role in the decline of the sardine stock, she calls the stock’s collapse “fake news.”

“Oceana claims that overfishing is the cause of the sardine fishery decline, but the absolute opposite is true: fishing is a non-issue and more importantly, the sardine stock is not declining.”

Pleschner-Steele believes the way the National Marine Fishery Service conducts its sardine stock assessments is fundamentally flawed and urges members of her organization to disregard them.

“This [latest] stock assessment was an update that was not allowed to include any new methods and was based primarily on a single acoustic survey that reached only as far south as Morro Bay and totally missed the nearshore coastwide,” said Pleschner-Steele.

The National Marine Fishery Service has acknowledged its inability to survey nearshore areas, but the agency doesn’t believe the lack of this data has compromised the accuracy of its assessments.

“We’re likely missing some sardines but maybe not at a huge portion,” said Josh Lindsay, a fishery policy analyst from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

“There is a broad understanding from the agency that we are not sampling the entire population, and a lot of that uncertainty gets built into our stock assessment model,” said Lindsay

For the last several years, scientists from the National Marine Fishery Service have been developing new ways to improve the accuracy of the agency’s stock assessments. The agency recently announced plans to use solar powered autonomous drones, also known as saildrones, to survey waters that their ships can’t reach.

Pleschner-Steele hopes surveys of nearshore areas will prove her theory that the stock is increasing, but not all fishers share her optimism. Neil Guglielmo, a commercial fisherman and member of the California Wetfish Producers Association, fears the stock won’t bounce back in his lifetime. The commercial purse-seiner says he began to suspect the stock was crashing seven years ago, because sardines were becoming increasingly difficult to catch.

“When there’s a lot of fish around, they’re easy to catch,” said Guglielmo.

Guglielmo, who has been catching sardines, anchovies and squid off the California coast for more than 40 years, shares Pleschner-Steele’s view that the latest stock assessment underestimated the true size of the stock, but unlike Pleschner-Steele, Guglielmo doesn’t think the sardine population is bouncing back.

“I’m 76 years old. Unless something drastic happens, I don’t think I’ll ever fish sardines again,” said Guglielmo.

http://www.montereyherald.com/environment-and-nature/20180506/when-will-sardines-return-not-any-time-soon-say-scientists

Tell Congress: Protect Whales, Dolphins, Not Oil Interests

908719-1524247983-wide637404107.jpg

act.oceana.org
Tell Congress: Protect Whales, Dolphins, Not Oil Interests
4-5 minutes

URGENT: Oil special interests in Congress are trying to gut the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), an important ocean conservation law that seeks to restore and maintain healthy populations of all marine mammals in U.S. waters.

The changes proposed in a new bill could devastate populations of whales, dolphins, seals, manatees and other marine mammals, risk ocean health, and reverse years of ocean conservation. We must speak up for whales and other marine mammals now – this is a fight we must win.

Tell your member of Congress: Defend whales, dolphins and other marine mammals! Reject all proposed changes to the MMPA.

Dear Member of Congress,

I am writing to ask you to oppose any legislation that would weaken the Marine Mammal Protection Act, including H.R. 3133, the Streamlining Environmental Approvals Act.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) provides protections for all marine mammals in U.S. waters, including whales, dolphins, seals, sea otters, and manatees. It recognizes the importance of marine mammals to the oceans and seeks to restore or maintain populations of these animals at healthy and productive levels. The law protects marine mammals by prohibiting activities that harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal, or attempt to do so. There are already exemptions granted by the law that permit limited harm to marine mammals from human activities.

H.R. 3133 would gut core provisions of the law that require careful review before permits to harass marine mammals can be issued to industrial users of the ocean, such as oil and gas companies. Federal government scientists who are responsible for reviewing these permit requests and ensuring the protection of marine mammals would be sharply restricted in their ability to do so. For example, the bill would remove standards in the law to limit harm to “small numbers” of marine mammals. Furthermore, the bill would fast track approval of permits to harass marine mammals. Even worse, it would require automatic approval of permits to harm marine mammals if government scientists had not finished their reviews in short order.

Thanks to the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a number of marine mammal species that were suffering heavy losses or even facing extinction have grown to healthier population levels. Hundreds of thousands of dolphins have been saved from large commercial fishing nets in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, harbor porpoise deaths in the Gulf of Maine have declined, and Northern elephant and gray seal populations have rebounded. It is essential that the law remain highly protective, because it can take several decades, or even a century, for a species to recover from low population levels. This is particularly the case for longer-lived species such as whales, which may not start reproducing until they are 10-20 years old and can live to be over a hundred years old.

The MMPA provides vital protections that marine mammals cannot afford to lose. Human uses of the ocean can continue with these protections in place, just as they do now. Thanks to the MMPA, whales, dolphins, seals and other marine mammals have a fighting chance for survival.

Therefore, I urge you to maintain the Marine Mammal Protection Act in its current from by opposing H.R. 3133 and any other bills or amendments that aim to undermine or weaken this essential ocean conservation law.

https://act.oceana.org/page/13217/petition/1?ea.tracking.id=twitter&utm_campaign=Advo&utm_content=20180507HR3133Tweet&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_id=pWP8CmHDXUBxue

Stop President Trump’s Dangerous New Offshore Drilling Agenda | Oceana

https://act.oceana.org/page/21057/action/1?ea.tracking.id=twitter&utm_campaign=Advo&utm_content=20180309OffshoreDrillingTweet2&utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_id=sSi8XAmnl5VAtq

10,000 Dolphins Are Being Secretly Killed In France Every Year

The Extinction Chronicles

https://www.thedodo.com/in-the-wild/dolphins-caught-fishing-nets-france

Fishermen pulling in trawling net from ocean
Net being pulled onto boat

View original post 544 more words

Study Finds 73% of Deep Water Fish Ingested Microplastics

Surprising Sea Turtle Facts

Petition: Help End the Shark Slaughter

One hundred million sharks are killed each year. And thanks to president Trump, he just made America complicit in the slaughter. This November at a state dinner to welcome the American president, Vietnam serve Trump shark fin soup.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/744/316/729/?z00m=29892502&redirectID=2558122180

Petition: Galveston Bay’s dolphins were poisoned – Hold polluters accountable

Valero Energy, ExxonMobil and Arkema -3 companies that released significant amounts of pollution during Harvey, need to take responsibility for their actions and create a dolphin research and Recovery fund. 

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/119/517/250/galveston-bays-dolphins-were-poisoned-%E2%80%93-hold-polluters-accountable/?TAP=1732

Petition: STOP NEW OFFSHORE DRILLING


https://environmental-action.webaction.org/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=23529&utm_source=salsa&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EAC4-FCNS:DRILLING:OFFSHORE-1017&utm_content=EM9:00C:0HH-LLP&uid=1220798

Protect our communities, coasts and climate: say NO to seismic blasting! | Greenpeace


https://engage.us.greenpeace.org/onlineactions/QptMh1rdTEGfA0EZ7TBS9g2?emci=0488d400-e7b4-e711-80c2-000d3a12e420&emdi=a6f0a044-21b7-e711-80c2-000d3a12e420&fn=Nancy&ln=Keiter&em=nackpets%40gmail.com&pc=17112&hp=&mp=&utm_source=ea&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=171019_eoy_seismic_email_ns_control&utm_content=control-advocacy&sourceid=1000507

Petition: Save Thousands of Penguin Chicks from Starving to Death


https://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/886/029/960/

Right Whales on a Collision Course Toward Disaster – Defenders of Wildlife Blog

North Atlantic right whale entanglement, NOAA.
For the North Atlantic right whale, one of the most critically imperiled large whale species in the world, 2017 has been a terrible year – indeed, probably the worst year since commercial whaling was banned in 1937.

Beginning in April of this year, when a dead right whale was found stranded in Cape Cod Bay, the death toll has just kept rising. Two additional right whale deaths have been confirmed in the United States and an unprecedented twelve dead right whales have been confirmed in Canada. For a species with fewer than 500 individual surviving members, these mortality levels are absolutely devastating. Fifteen dead whales— three percent of their total population—is a catastrophic loss. Because not all right whale carcasses will be discovered, the true number of deaths is probably even higher.

To put this in perspective, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has previously found that the loss of even a single right whale may contribute to the extinction of the species. Even prior to this year’s horrifying spate of deaths, Defenders and its conservation allies had been extremely concerned about the lack of progress in right whale recovery. Despite decades of protection in the U.S. under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), leading right whale scientists recently concluded – with a 99.99 percent degree of certainty – that the species has been in decline since 2010.

The situation unfolding is so dire that, in response to this year’s unprecedented die-offs NMFS has declared the current phenomenon an unusual mortality event under the MMPA. This declaration puts much-needed pressure on government agencies by necessitating an immediate investigation into the causes of this significant die-off.
Dissecting These Die-Offs

We have known for a long time that entanglement in fishing gear and ship strikes are the two largest causes of right whale mortality. Although the data and analysis are not yet complete for all the right whale carcasses recovered and necropsied, it appears as if these killers are likely responsible for this year’s overwhelming death toll. Preliminary evidence from both the U.S. and Canada shows that some of the dead right whales were hopelessly entangled in heavy fishing ropes while others showed blunt-force trauma marks consistent with being struck by a vessel.
Snared and Struck

Entanglements can drown right whales by keeping these air-breathing mammals from reaching the surface. They can also interfere with movement and feeding and create wounds when ropes cut into an entangled whale’s skin, leading to slow and painful deaths by starvation and infection. Alarmingly, new scientific studies show that fishing gear entanglements not only kill right whales outright, but also impose such an energetic cost on females, due to the burden of dragging entangled gear around, that they are bearing fewer calves. Indeed, 2017 is one of the worst years on record for baby right whales, with only five documented calves born. When you realize that some 85 percent of all known right whales have scars from entanglements in fishing gear, the tremendous risks that fisheries pose to the very survival of the right whale becomes clear.  

Blue whale in the shadow of a tanker ship. Photo by CINMS/NOAA

Ship strikes are also a life-threatening risk to right whales, which migrate up and down waters off the eastern coasts of Canada and the U.S. every year, through some of the busiest commercial shipping lanes in North America. Although we think of whales as the behemoths of the sea, they are dwarfed by huge container vessels, cruise ships, and other vessel traffic, and stand little chance of survival when one of these vessels runs them over at speed. For this reason, Defenders and its conservation allies worked hard for many years to get NMFS to implement speed limits for large vessels when whales’ seasonal migrations put them into the traffic danger zones. Yet the U.S. ship strike rule doesn’t go far enough, and Canada doesn’t have any permanent speed limit rules in place.
Working for Right Whales Right Now

Defenders and its conservation allies are taking action to protect the North Atlantic right whale from further unsustainable losses. We have just sent NMFS a 60-day notice of our intent to sue under the ESA and MMPA for its management of the American lobster fishery, which continues to seriously injure or kill right whales every year through entanglements in vertical lines.

We have also just sent a detailed letter to the Canadian government, urging it to step up to the plate and protect right whales from both entanglements and ship strikes in Canadian waters.

The situation is dire, but we will do everything in our power to halt and reverse the right whale’s slide toward extinction.
http://www.defendersblog.org/2017/10/right-whales-collision-course-toward-disaster/

Jane Davenport, Senior Staff Attorney
Jane’s work focuses on protecting marine species such as sharks, sea turtles, and marine mammals from direct and incidental take in fisheries; and on protecting freshwater aquatic species from habitat destruction and pollution from surface coal mining.
Categories: Marine Habitat, marine habitat, Marine Mammal Protection Act, North Atlantic right whale, Whales, Wildlife
1130 17th Street NW

Washington, DC 20036

1-800-385-9712

©2017 Defenders of Wildlife

#Taiji Tuesday – Short-Finned Pilot Whale

Short-Finned Pilot Whale: There are currently two recognized species of pilot whale, the short-finned and long-finned. In Japan, there are two morphologically and geographically distinct population…

Source: #Taiji Tuesday – Short-Finned Pilot Whale

Petition: Protect Right Whales from Poor Fisheries Practices

8 Right Whales have died in less than 2 months in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. 

These deaths were completely  avoidable.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/644/064/870/

Petition: Tell ‘Legal Sea Foods’ restaurants to STOP selling Faroe Islands salmon!


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/103/035/981/

Act Now: Stop The Madness And Save Our Sanctuaries! · Petitions · Australian Marine Conservation Society


https://www.marineconservation.org.au/petitions/182/act-now-stop-the-madness-and-save-our-sanctuaries?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=17%2007%20PTN%20Marine%20Management%20Plans%20Release%20MP&utm_content=17%2007%20PTN%20Marine%20Management%20Plans%20Release%20MP+Version+A+CID_1af5df0d7627aeed229fbef139eaa2bd&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Act%20now%20Dont%20let%20them%20carve%20up%20our%20ocean%20sanctuaries

petition: Identify and Charge Men Who Dragged Shark by Speed Boat!


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/466/528/870/identify-and-charge-men-who-dragged-shark-by-speed-boat/?TAP=1007&cid=causes_petition_postinfo

Petition: Ban Shark Finning in Singapore


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/151/178/578/

Petition: Protect California’s Endangered Humpback Whales


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/221/735/065/?z00m=29308416&redirectID=2453752898

CO2 Benefits the “Rats and Cockroaches” of Marine World – Scientific American

CO2 Benefits the “Rats and Cockroaches” of Marine World

Ocean acidification may be driving a cascade of changes that drains marine biodiversity

By Adam Aton, ClimateWire on July 7, 2017

Beneath the waves, swelling levels of carbon dioxide could be boosting some species to ecological dominance while dooming others.
A study published yesterday in Current Biology suggests ocean acidification is driving a cascading set of behavioral and environmental changes that drains oceans’ biodiversity. Niche species and intermediate predators suffer at the expense of a handful of aggressive species.

Sea-level rise and coral bleaching often dominate discussions about how climate change affects the ocean, but a host of more subtle—and harder to research—trends also play a role in reshaping the world’s marine ecosystems. Among the most pressing questions is how fish react to rising levels of CO2, said Tom Bigford, policy director at the American Fisheries Society.

“The hurdles for behavioral changes are far lower than the hurdles for life and death,” said Bigford, who worked with fish habitats at NOAA for more than three decades.

Now, for the first time, researchers from the University of Adelaide in South Australia have cataloged the changing ways marine species interact with each other.

For three years, they observed marine environments near undersea volcanic vents where CO2 levels are high—providing a window into the future acidity of ocean water—along with adjacent areas of normal acidity. They also conducted behavioral experiments on fish from the different zones to test their responses to food and habitat competition.

Receding kelp means less habitat for intermediate predators, with about half as many near the volcanic vents.

But the acidified conditions proved to be a boon to what the researchers called “the marine equivalent to rats and cockroaches”—small fish with low commercial or culinary value.

Snails and small crustaceans can flourish in high-CO2 conditions, providing plenty of prey for those small fish. And their high risk-taking behavior and competitive strength, coupled with the collapse of predator populations, allowed them to more than double their population.

In water with higher CO2, the dominant species were willing to adapt to riskier habitats, preferring bare surfaces instead of turf while subordinate species were nearby.

Mimicked predator attacks also showed the dominant species adopted riskier behavior in higher-acidity water, fleeing shorter distances than the fish in water with normal acidity. Subordinate species showed no change.

Rare and specialist species are the most vulnerable to climate change, even though they “contribute disproportionately to [ecosystems’] functional diversity,” the researchers wrote.

To counter that diversity loss, the researchers suggested stronger fishing protections for predators.
Scientific American is part of Springer Nature, which owns or has commercial relations with thousands of scientific publications (many of them can be found at http://www.springernature.com/us). Scientific American maintains a strict policy of editorial independence in reporting developments in science to our readers.
© 2017 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc.

All Rights Reserved.
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Petition: Tell Congress: Protect Marine Life From Dangerous Seismic Blasting


http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/449/192/651/

Petition: It’s Time for the Orange Bowl to Peel Away From the Miami Seaquarium | PETA Video


https://www.peta.org/action/action-alerts/orange-bowl-peel-away-miami-seaquarium/?utm_campaign=061317%20orange%20bowl%20peel%20away%20miami%20seaquarium/&utm_source=peta%20e-mail&utm_medium=alert

Petition: Don’t Allow Oil Companies to Assault Marine Life

Humpback-whale-by-gregory-smith

Five oil and gas companies has asked the Trump administration to allow them to conduct offshore seismic testing which could separate young whales from their mothers or prevent dolphins from feeding. Tell officials handling this proposal that this is a bad deal for wildlife and America’s eastern seaboard.

Source: Don’t Allow Oil Companies to Assault Marine Life