Center For Biological Diversity & Defenders Of Wildlife File Intent to Sue Trump Administration to Protect Atlantic Sharks & Giant Manta Rays From Lethal Longlines & Gillnets – World Animal News

By WAN –
April 3, 2019

On behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife, today Earthjustice filed a notice of intent to sue the Trump administration for failing to protect oceanic whitetip sharks and giant manta rays from being killed by longlines and huge nets used by U.S. fishermen in Atlantic fisheries.
Defenders petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to list the oceanic whitetip shark and giant manta ray under the Endangered Species Act in 2015. The agency listed the shark and ray as threatened last year, triggering the agency’s obligation to consider conservation measures to protect the species from federal actions when authorizing U.S. fisheries.
Today’s notice letter to the Fisheries Service says officials have not completed required consultations when authorizing fisheries managed under the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan. The Endangered Species Act requires consultations to ensure that federal actions do not unduly harm protected species.
The agency has not completed these consultations on the pelagic longline (which targets tuna, swordfish and other species), shark drift gillnet or shark bottom longline fisheries — all of which harm oceanic whitetip sharks and giant manta rays and have contributed to the species’ declines.
“These sharks and rays won federal protection, but they’re still being slaughtered by reckless fishing practices,” said Catherine Kilduff, a Center attorney in a statement. “The Trump administration has to follow through by regulating the deadly Atlantic longline and gillnet fisheries. Giant manta rays and oceanic whitetip sharks will keep declining if our government doesn’t do its moral and legal duty to protect them.”
The giant manta ray, with a wingspan that can reach 29 feet, has suffered population declines of up to 95% in some places due to commercial fishing. Similarly, scientists have estimated substantial declines in oceanic whitetip sharks in the Atlantic Ocean, including an 88% decline in the Gulf of Mexico due to commercial fishing. Reducing the primary threat to these species, commercial fishing, is key to their survival and recovery.
Giant manta rays and oceanic whitetip sharks are intentionally hunted in other countries — the sharks for their large fins and the manta rays for their gills, both prized for Asian medicines and cuisine — and are often swept up as bycatch by U.S. fisheries. Gillnets have been called “walls of death” for the harm they do to a variety of marine species. Atlantic longlines can be up to 45 miles long, with hundreds of baited hooks.
“These horrific fishing practices are outdated,” Jane Davenport, a Defenders attorney, said. “We can’t keep fishing indiscriminately while sharks, manta rays and other accidental victims move toward extinction. As the agency charged with both conserving these imperiled species and managing U.S. fisheries, the National Marine Fisheries Service is under a double obligation to comply with the Endangered Species Act’s mandate to ensure the survival and recovery of the oceanic whitetip shark and giant manta ray.”
“The law requires these species to be given meaningful protections in the water, not just on paper,” said Earthjustice attorney Chris Eaton. “NMFS can’t allow these fisheries to continue harming the oceanic whitetip and giant manta ray unchecked. It needs to put some safeguards into place.”
A peer-reviewed study by Center scientists released in January found most marine species listed under the Endangered Species Act are recovering. Listed species with critical habitat protections and those listed for more than 20 years are most likely to be rebounding. In February 2019, Defenders and the Center also sent a detailed technical letter to the agency urging it to designate critical habitat for the giant manta ray in U.S. waters.

https://worldanimalnews.com/center-for-biological-diversity-defenders-of-wildlife-file-intent-to-sue-trump-administration-to-protect-atlantic-sharks-giant-manta-rays-from-lethal-longlines-gillnets/

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Florida Manatee Deaths up Almost 50% in 2018

The Jaguar

A Florida manatee looking at the camera.
Florida manatee deaths rose significantly in 2018. Here’s Looking at You Kid – Meet a Florida Manatee by the U.S. Geological Survey. Public Domain.

Here’s a heart-breaking story by John R. Platt and Dipika Kadaba of The Revelator. It turns out that 824 Florida manatees died last year, almost 50% more than in 2017.

Those 824 mortalities (deaths) represent 13% of the Florida manatee population, and many of them were caused by people – either directly or indirectly.

The Revelator released a video that goes into more detail about why so many manatees died last year. Click below to watch it, and be sure to visit this link for the original story.

Video by The Revelator about the dramatic rise in Florida manatee mortalities in 2018.

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Don’t feed pelicans. Fish carcasses can tear pouches, resulting in death (Florida, USA)

The ocean update

This brown pelican had a torn pouch after eating at least one fish carcass. Rehabilitators at Key West Wildlife Center fixed its pouch, but its exposed trachea resulted in pneumonia. It died 1 month later. Photo credit : Key West Wildlife Center

March 25th, 2019. KEY WEST, Fla. – Wildlife officials in Florida and experts as far south as Key West are trying to push one message : Don’t feed pelicans.

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Plastic Found In Marine Animals At The Oceans Deepest Depths – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
By Alex Larson

While plastics are most commonly seen in shallow ocean waters or discussion generally surrounds areas such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it’s important to not forget that plastic is literally in every part of our ocean, even the deepest depths.

A recent study published in Royal Society Open Science has found examples of microplastics in animals living in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the worlds oceans at 7 miles under the sea surface.

The team studied 90 deep-dwelling shrimp for microplastic contamination from six ocean trenches around the Pacific Rim. Unfortunately, even though these marine animals live miles under the surface from humans irresponsible habits of plastic usage, they still cannot escape.

“Half of me was expecting to find something but that is huge,” Alan Jamieson, from Newcastle University’s School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, said in a statement. Jamieson also added that majority of man-made items found in the shrimp were clothes fabrics such as nylon.

The research revealed that 72 percent of the shrimp tested contained at least one plastic micro particle with some containing up to eight particles. Every trench investigated had marine animals with plastic inside of them but the results did vary depending on how frequent plastic was found in the shrimp. For example, in the Mariana Trench, 100 percent of shrimp examined contained plastics while the shrimp from the New Hebrides Trench came out at a 50 percent rate.

“We are piling all our crap into the place we know least about,” Jamieson said, adding that it is hard to know how exactly it was affecting the creatures it contaminated. These particles could just pass straight through the animal, but in the animals we looked at they must be blocking them,” he continued.

While humans addiction to using plastic and continuing to dispose of it irresponsibly continues, the planets oceans will feel it the most. By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish while many marine organisms can’t distinguish common plastic items from food. Animals who eat plastic often starve because they can’t digest the plastic and it fills their stomachs, preventing them from eating real food

We need to bring this issue to the forefront of discussion and you can help do that by saying no to single-use plastics in your own life and secondly, petitioning your local businesses and governments to reduce plastic usage or promote laws that prohibit usage.

http://seavoicenews.com/2019/03/04/plastic-found-in-marine-animals-at-the-oceans-deepest-depths/

Breaking! Anger Mounts As Iceland Sets Quota For Commercial Whaling At 426 Whales Annually; This Must End! – World Animal News

By Karen Lane –
February 22, 2019

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) strongly opposes Iceland’s decision Tuesday to establish a base whaling quota of 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales annually from 2019 to 2023. Due to this misguided regulation, Iceland’s image as a nature tourism destination could face irreparable damage.
Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries Kristján Þór Júlíusson based his decision, in part, on a macroeconomic review of Icelandic whaling released by the University of Iceland’s Institute of Economics in late January 2019. This review is an unsound document that does not provide a complete or accurate assessment of the impacts of whaling on Iceland’s economy, image and fisheries.
Iceland’s base whaling quota remains unchanged from last year, but it is still unclear if a carryover quota will increase the overall quota moving forward.
“Minister Júlíusson has failed not only Iceland’s whales but also the people of Iceland in making this decision,” said Susan Millward, AWI’s Marine Animal Program Director in a statement. “The deeply flawed macroeconomic review of whaling did not consider the welfare implications of whaling, nor did it accurately portray the negative impacts whaling has had on Iceland’s image and economy.”
Icelandic whaling quotas are not approved by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the only appropriate international organization responsible for the conservation and management of whales. Furthermore, commercial whaling is inherently cruel, unsustainable and impossible to regulate. AWI advocates for an end to commercial whaling, including Iceland’s unprofitable and unnecessary whaling industry.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-anger-mounts-as-iceland-sets-quota-for-commercial-whaling-at-426-whales-annually-this-must-end/

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Sharkwater Extinction: This Film will Change You

The Jaguar

A white tip shark.
White Tip desktop background, retrieved from https://www.sharkwater.com/photo-gallery/.

Given that I’ve just spent a year of my life studying wildlife television, and that I consider myself a connoisseur of wildlife films and TV, I’ve decided to start reviewing nature-based films and television programs. This first review concerns Sharkwater: Extinction by the late Rob Stewart.

iTunes describes Sharkwater: Extinction as, “A thrilling action adventure journey that follows filmmaker Rob Stewart as he exposes the billion dollar illegal shark fin industry and the political corruption behind it…Stewart’s mission is to save the sharks before it’s too late.”

Here’s my take on the film:

Very General, Minimal Spoilers Synopsis

Sharkwater: Extinction picks up in Costa Rica, where the first Sharkwater left off. Accompanying Stewart is Regina Domingo and a team of filmmakers, and together they examine the political and economic structures that drive the slaughter of sharks. Things happen and the…

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Warning Graphic Photos: Australian Fisherman Uses Dead Shark As Bong – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
by Alex Larson →

When you think humanity can not get any worse, a shocking video has been posted on the Facebook page Fried Fishing Australia which shows a man using a dead shark as a bong.

As we do not want to promote the views gathered by the Facebook page which already has 21,000 followers, we have attached photos below that show the disturbing act.

Via: Facebook

Via: Facebook

The photos and video reveal the man on a fishing boat holding the shark which has two tubes sticking out from its head and rear with the inside of the shark hallowed out while the children song Babyshark eerily plays in the background.

The purposeful and irresponsible carelessness towards sharks is at the helm of driving worldwide numbers down. As fisherman know that the ocean depends on sharks as apex predators to sustain the health of the oceans, it would seem obvious they would be on the frontline of trying to protect sharks.

The fisherman in the video is Billy Brislane whom also made news last year after catching five large bull sharks in the Macleay River in Australia.

Source: Facebook

The amount of intentional animal abuse by anglers is frankly sick and we need all governments to start enforcing stricter laws on recreational fishing and increase marine animal protections.

http://seavoicenews.com/2019/02/05/warning-graphic-photos-australian-fisherman-uses-dead-shark-as-bong/
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600 Dead Olive Ridley Sea Turtles Wash Ashore In India After Being Caught By Fishing Trawlers And Dumped – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
by Alex Larson →

Roughly 600 dead Olive Ridley sea turtles and two dolphins have washed ashore in the last two days on beaches for Hukitola to Eakakula in the Garirmatha marine sanctuary areas in India.

The suspected death of the turtles were result of being hit by fishing trawlers or entangled in nets out at sea. Fishing is not allowed within 20 kilometers fof the Garirmatha marine sanctuary but according to Hemant Rout, an environmentalist and secretary of Gahirmatha Marine Turtles and Mangrove Conservation Society, fishing trawlers routinely do fish there without being interrupted.

Bycatch is one of the biggest concerns to marine animals across the world, particularly sharks, sea turtles and whales whose overall numbers are sharply declining world wide.

The Olive Ridley sea turtle, which are closely related to the severely endangered Kemp’s Ridley, is considered the most abundant of sea turtles but numbers are sharply declining due to people taking eggs out of nests, the female turtles being slaughtered when they come ashore to lay eggs, and due to bycatch.

Olive Ridley sea turtles come to the Gahirmatha, India in large numbers for annual nesting. As they make their way to the shorelines, they get swept up by fishing trawlers where they drown due to not being able to reach the surface. Once aboard the vessels, the trawlers toss any unwanted catch back into the sea, dead or alive. Most likely, the sea turtles washed ashore were caught this way and were dead as the current brought them to the coastline.

Speaking to The New India Express, Forest Range Officer of Gahirmatha Srirampada Arabinda Mishra said the State Government has imposed a ban order on fishing activities inside the marine sanctuary from November 1, 2018 to May 31, 2019 to protect the sea turtles.

Forest officials have already arrested around 380 fishermen and seized 83 fishing vessels on charges of illegally fishing in Gahirmatha.

http://seavoicenews.com/2019/02/03/600-dead-olive-ridley-sea-turtles-wash-ashore-in-india-after-being-caught-by-fishing-trawlers-and-dumped/

Researchers Have Identified How Naval Sonar Is Killing And Beaching Whales – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
by Alex Larson →

We have known for a long time that naval sonar has devastating effects on marine life but just exactly how it leads to sickness and death was a mystery till now.

In new research published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, they discovered that the sound emitted by sonar is so intense that marine mammals will swim hundreds of miles, dive deep into the abyss or even beach themselves to flee from the sounds that are literally unbearable to them.

In particular, beaked whales are one of the marine mammals that are often found beached due to sonar testing. Prior to the 1960s, beaked whale strandings were extremely rare. But once the 60s rolled around, the Navy started to use mid-frequency active sonar (MFAS) to detect submarines.

And from the 60s onwards, whales washing up on beachings became a very common occurrence. The paper recently published is a summary of what was discussed at a 2017 meeting of beaked whale experts in the Canary Islands and revealed that sonar distresses beaked whales so much that the marine mammals ends up with nitrogen bubbles in their blood very similar to what divers would call decompression sickness or the bends. The nitrogen can cause hemorrhaging and damage to whales vital organs.

The big question that was brought up was how an animal that lives in the ocean and is adapted to perform deep water dives for hours at a time can obtain decompression sickness? Well simply, the sonar is so powerful, the animals dive deep too quickly causing the sickness.

“In the presence of sonar they are stressed and swim vigorously away from the sound source, changing their diving pattern,” lead author Yara Bernaldo de Quiros told AFP.

“The stress response, in other words, overrides the diving response, which makes the animals accumulate nitrogen. It’s like an adrenalin shot.”

The conclusions are drawn from autopsies of dead whales, although a handful of animals were killed by other threats inflicted by humans, such as collisions with ships or entanglement in fishing nets, as well as disease.

The authors note that to mitigate the impacts of sonar on beaked whales, we must ban its use in areas where they’re found. A moratorium on the use of MFAS around the Canary Islands in 2004 shows just how well this works – no atypical strandings have been seen since. The researchers urge other countries where sonar is deployed, such as the US, Greece, Italy, and Japan, to follow suit.

http://seavoicenews.com/2019/01/31/researchers-have-identified-how-naval-sonar-is-killing-and-beaching-whales/

Photos And Video Reveals That Orcas And Beluga Whales Captured By Russia Are Dying In Captivity – Sea Voice News

50685920_10156582707195399_8742849425036017664_n-735x4001737204058.jpg

http://seavoicenews.com/2019/01/28/photos-and-video-reveals-that-orcas-and-beluga-whales-captured-by-russia-are-dying-in-captivity-2/

 

by Alex Larson →
Just a few months ago, 90 beluga whales and 11 orcas were captured to be sold to marine parks in China.

The 101 mammals where captured by Russian traders in the open ocean over the course of the summer as the business of holding large marine mammals for human entertainment continues to soar across the world.

The marine mammals were captured by Russian traders in the open ocean over the course of the summer. Once captured, the mammals are taken to Srednyaya Bay, near Nakhodka, Rissua where they animal are kept in small pens until the traders secure buyers, where they will then move to China. Although China is currently the only buyer on the market, it was only in 2015 where SeaWorld and the Georgia Aquarium attempted to buy whales from Russia but where denied by federal officials.

Since then, the animals have suffered and their health has drastically declined. Now new photos and video released on the Facebook by Free Russian Whales reveals just how bad of shape the animals are actually in.

Check out the photo and video posted below:

In an excerpt under the video, the organization wrote-

“Once you watch it – it is not possible to unwatch.

https://www.facebook.com/freerussianwhales/

This is Kirill – one of the youngest orcas captured in the summer of 2018 in the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia. He is only about 1 year old. He was stolen from his family with another 11 orcas. They are kept in place called “Whale Jail” in Primorsky region in Russia.

One of the orcas disappeared already – captors claim they released it due to aggressive behavior, but it’s more likely that the animal just died. Three baby belugas also disappeared – or “escaped” as captors claim.

Kirill could be next. Latest video from the inspection that took place in January 18-19th showed that his condition is very concerning. Because of very cold winters in Russia and limited space in the seapen that partially covers in ice – Kirill and other orcas have developed frostbite. If something to keep the warm temperature in the enclosures is not done soon – animals most likely will start dying.

Please help us stop this cruelty! These orcas didn’t commit any crime! We have to save them and release them back to their families!

TAKE ACTION NOW! THEIR LIVES ARE IN YOUR HANDS!

Sign the petition and send a letter to the President of Russia! http://freerussianwhales.org/en/help/“

Marine mammal scientists Naomi Rose explained to The Dodo what the capture and imprisonment of the animals does to them, “The trauma and distress these animals experience during captures is not opinion or emotion — it is fact,” Rose added. “They suffer intense stress-related reactions and their mortality risk spikes sharply soon after capture and then again after transport — they don’t get accustomed to the process. The decimated pods may experience similar stress and trauma — their offspring are being taken from them.”

It is actually illegal in Russia to capture and sell marine mammals for commercial purposes but the companies that are conducting the trade have a found a loophole in the law where they claim to be trading the animals for education purposes only, which allows the traders to get the proper permits to capture the animals from the wild.

While animal conservation awareness has grown across the world, many of the marine mammal parks, particularly in China, are not teaching conservation and in fact often harm conservation efforts by participating in this live trade according to Rose.

Rose advocates that to do something about the problem, we need to speak up. It’s also important to not support marine parks that keep whales or dolphins captive, especially if they make them perform.

“Publicize what is happening, as much as possible, on social media,” Rose said. “We need to make the Chinese government embarrassed about their participation in this cruel and unsustainable trade.”

 

 

Sign Petition: Tell Coastal Golf Courses to Get Their Golf Balls Out of Our Ocean

thepetitionsite.com
by: Care2 Team
recipient: The Pebble Beach Company and other coastal and riverside golf coursesmore

Pebble Beach is world-renowned for being one of the most beautiful golf courses on Earth. The golf resort is dotted with million dollar mansions and frequented by some of the wealthiest people on the planet. It truly is a golfer’s paradise.

But right off the coast, where the links turn into the sea, that paradise has been lost.

Two years ago, a young 16-year-old freediver named Alex Weber was swimming off the coast in Carmel Bay. Weber says she had been diving since she was a young child, so the underwater world was nothing new to her. But this time she saw something she didn’t expect. Instead of sand covering the seafloor, she saw nothing but golf balls — thousands and thousands of them.

Weber knew this wasn’t good. Golf balls are covered in plastic, and like any plastic material that finds its way into the sea, they degrade over time, releasing microplastics and other toxins into the ocean that marine life ingest.

Weber knew just what she had to do — with help, she initiated her own golf ball clean up effort to rid Carmel Bay of its golf ball scourge. Over the following two years, she and her helpers removed around 50,000 balls — more than 2 tons of them.

Weber said that even as they made their regular diving trips out to remove more golf balls, they could hear the “plink, plink” of more balls hitting the ocean from golfers at nearby resorts.

The Pebble Beach Company (PBC) — owner of Pebble Beach and two other courses along the coast including The Links at Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill — charge big money by offering a chance to play at this stunning course. They can charge exorbitant green fees ($525) because the links are pristine and beautiful. But management has failed to keep the entire area in equally as tip-top shape. For PBC officials, out of sight means out of mind. Over the years they have allowed thousands of golf balls to pollute California’s shore. That is unacceptable.

The PBC must take responsibility for the golf ball pollution caused by their guests and rid the sea floor of them at once. Additionally, they should take extra steps to make sure more balls don’t make their way into the sea, perhaps by erecting a net to stop stray balls.

Sign the petition to tell PBC and other coastal and river golf courses to clean up their mess. Photo credit: The Plastic Pick-Up.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/972/407/417/tell-pebble-beach-to-get-their-golf-balls-out-of-our-ocean/

 

Video: Amazing Footage Of Humpback Whales Utilizing Ingenuitive Way To Catch Fish – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
by Alex Larson →

If you had to eat 5,500 pounds of food every day , you would need to find ingenuitive ways to get food and that is exactly what millions of years of evolution has done for the humpback whale.

New footage of humpback whales off the northeaster coast of Canada’s Vancouver Island have been captured on video showing how to get food to come to them instead of wasting energy to go after the fish. The method, called trap-feeding”, is when a humpback whale suspends itself on the surface or just below the surface and opens its mouth allowing for water to pour inside. While birds above the sea circle the fish trying to catch them from the air, the fish try to escape the birds and end up in the whales mouth.

As first reported in Marine Mammal Science, the researchers first noticed this way of feeding by two whales in 2011. Now the researchers have seen 16 whales use this technique, leading to the belief that the others whales have learned from observation.

The authors note that the ability of individual whales to learn can depend on physiology, as well as their ability to respond to their external environment, like changing numbers, availability, distribution, or behavior of prey.

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/11/29/video-amazing-footage-of-humpback-whales-utilizing-ingenuitive-way-to-catch-fish/

Half Of The World’s Orcas Will Die Due To Chemical Banned Decades Ago – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
About Alex Larson View all posts by Alex Larson →

Our actions today will impact those lives of lives of tomorrow. That phrase has never rang so true as new research has just revealed that half of the world’s orca populations will die to toxic and persistent pollution of the oceans.

The chemical that will cause the death of the killer whales are PCBs which have been banned for decades. Although the ban has been in place, PCBs are still heavily leaking into the ocean. Because PCBs become more concentrated higher upon the food chain, the killer whale, which is the top predators, are the most contaminated animals on the planet. Making it worse, their fat-rich milk passes on very high doses to their newborn calves.

The new research, published in the journal Science, examined PCB contamination in 351 killer whales, the largest analysis yet. The scientists then took existing data on how PCBs affect calf survival and immune systems in whales and used this to model how populations will fare in the future. “Populations of Japan, Brazil, Northeast Pacific, Strait of Gibraltar, and the United Kingdom are all tending toward complete collapse,” they concluded.

PCB concentrations found in killer whales can be 100 times safe levels and severely damage reproductive organs, cause cancer and damage the immune system. The new research analysed the prospects for killer whale populations over the next century and found those offshore from industrialised nations could vanish as soon as 30-50 years.

“It is like a killer whale apocalypse,” said Paul Jepson at the Zoological Society of London, part of the international research team behind the new study. “Even in a pristine condition they are very slow to reproduce.” Healthy killer whales take 20 years to reach peak sexual maturity and 18 months to gestate a calf.

PCBs were used around the world since the 1930s in electrical components, plastics and paints but their toxicity has been known for 50 years. They were banned by nations in the 1970s and 1980s but 80% of the 1m tons produced have yet to be destroyed and are still leaking into the seas from landfills and other sources.

The researchers said PCBs are just one pollutant found in killer whales, with “a long list of additional known and as yet unmeasured contaminants present”. Further problems for killer whales include the loss of key prey species such as tuna and sharks to overfishing and also growing underwater noise pollution.

“This new study is a global red alert on the state of our oceans,” said Jennifer Lonsdale, chair of the Wildlife and Countryside Link’s whales group. “If the UK government wants its [proposed] Environment Act to be world-leading, it must set ambitious targets on PCB disposal and protect against further chemical pollution of our waters.”

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/09/28/half-of-the-worlds-orcas-will-die-due-to-chemical-banned-decades-ago/

Endangered Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle Severely Entangled By Fishing Nets – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com

by Alex Larson

With the help of technology and social media, we are starting to see just how often endangered species are being caught as a result of bycatch and the increase in reportings is very disturbing. The latest to marine animal to be found entrapped by fishing gear tossed into the sea is the severely endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle.

Reported on Facebook by Animal Rehabilitation Keep (http://seavoicenews.com/2018/09/23/photos-endangered-kemps-ridley-sea-turtle-severely-entangled-by-fishing-nets/) at UT Marine Science Institute, the group found the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle severely entangled in fishing netting. In a statement on their Facebook page the stated, “Horrible case of entanglement today of a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle entangled in shark fishing gear. Unfortunately, we see entanglement cases way too often. Please help by removing and properly disposing of all fishing line debris. Together we can make a difference!”

Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles numbers are starting to slowly increase but yet are still the most endangered in the world. The turtle only lives in the Gulf of Mexico and part of the east coast of the US. With incidents such as this becoming more frequent due to pollution from humans, it is now more important than ever to do our best to keep our beaches and oceans clean. You can do your small part by picking up any trash that you may see, you never know the impact you may have on another creatures life.

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/09/23/photos-endangered-kemps-ridley-sea-turtle-severely-entangled-by-fishing-nets/

Japan To Withdraw From International Whaling Commission And Continue Commercial Whaling – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
by Alex Larson

In news that will greatly impact the fishing of the planets whales, Japan is set to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission and continue commercial whaling next year.

The decisions has caused a mixed reaction by different environmental groups across the world.

According to reports, Japan will inform the IWC of its decision to leave after the agency rejected their bid to resume commercial fishing just a few months ago.

Kyodo News is reporting that unnamed government officials are sourced as saying Japan will discontinue their expensive and contreversial practice of sailing to Antarctic waters and instead permit whaling fleets to operate in the countries coastal waters and exclusive economic zone.

According to The Guardian, a fisheries agency official denied the report to them stating, “Japan’s official position, that we want to resume commercial whaling as soon as possible, has not changed,” the official told the Guardian. “But reports that we will leave the IWC are incorrect.”

The IWC is responsible for setting catch limits for commercial whaling and in 1982, they decided that a commercial whaling moratorium will take place going forward due to whale populations worldwide.

Greenpeace Japan urged the Japanese government to reconsider the decision that the non-governmental organization called a “grave mistake.”

“This snub to multilateralism is unacceptable,” Sam Annesley, executive director at Greenpeace Japan, said. “We hope that Japan will reverse its decision and take its place beside the nations trying to undo the damage human activities have done to whale populations.”

But while some are arguing in against the withdrawal, Captain Paul Watson, whom is famous for leading Sea Shepherd on the front lines in fighting Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean has explained why this is actually a good move for whale conservation

In the statement on his Facebook, he writes:

“Why is this a positive Development.

  1. Because Japan has never stopped commercial whaling. They have ‘hidden’ it behind the excuse of so called ‘scientific whaling’ since 1987. They have continued commercial whaling despite the International Court of Justice ruling that there is no legal justification for their so-called ‘scientific whaling.’ Now there can be no façade, Japan has joined Norway and Iceland in their open defiance of international conservation law. All three nations are pirate whaling nations.
  2. With Japan out of the International Whaling Commission, the IWC can now pass the South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary. The IWC can now focus on conservation instead of whaling. Japan has been the single greatest detriment to the IWC during its entire history.
  3. The Japanese puppet nations will no longer be obligated to vote against conservation and without Japanese bribes, many will simply quit the IWC. Mongolia for example has absolutely no connection to whaling historically or practically.
  4. The IWC can now vote to condemn industrial commercial whaling.
  5. Japan will not be able to kill whales in the Southern Ocean. It is an internationally established whale sanctuary and the only reason Japan has been able to flaunt the law is by invoking the excuse of ‘scientific research whaling.” Overt commercial whaling is strictly prohibited in the Southern Ocean and Japan has indicated it will quit the Southern Ocean while expanding whaling in the North Pacific. This would mean that the current whaling season in Antarctic waters will be the last.
  6. Japan will be able to withdraw from the Southern Ocean without losing face.
  7. Opposition to illegal Japanese commercial whaling will be easier. Basically, we will be dealing with poachers. Japan will no longer be able to pretend that their commercial whaling is research whaling.
  8. Sea Shepherd’s objective to end whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary will have been met.

The last time Sea Shepherd engaged with the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean was for the 2016/2017 whaling season. We sent the Ocean Warrior and the Steve Irwin. Japan countered with multi-million dollar military grade surveillance making it impossible for Sea Shepherd to close in on their operations. Sea Shepherd has been unable to compete with such a massive security investment on the part of Japan. On the positive side, Japan has been forced to expend a great deal of money on security each year to maintain this edge.

Sea Shepherd’s relentless opposition to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean since 2002 has been a major factor in undermining Japanese whaling activities. It has cost the whalers and the Japanese government tens of millions of dollars and saved the lives of over 6,000 whales.

A whaling free Southern Ocean has been our objective for two decades and if Japan moves forward with their threat to withdraw from the IWC and to resume overt commercial whaling, this objective will be realized.”

Japan joined the IWC in 1951. The entity was established in 1948 under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling to conserve whales and realize the “orderly development of the whaling industry.”

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/12/21/japan-to-withdraw-from-international-whaling-commission-and-continue-commercial-whaling/

UK Seal Found With Frisbee Around Its Neck – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
by Alex Larson →
GLENN MINGHAM/ FRIENDS OF HORSEY SEALS

An Atlantic grey seal in Norfolk has been rescued after it was found with a plastic ring around her neck on Horsey beach by the Friends of Horsey Seals group.

The marine mammal has been taken to the RSPCA centre at East Winch for treatment and care after being found severely ill and weakened due to the frisbee.

The seal was examined by the wildlife centre’s vet who found the pink plastic frisbee was embedded in the seal’s neck, causing a deep neck wound which had become severely infected. The incident is similar to one that occurred just over a year ago in September 2017 when a very ill grey seal, later dubbed Mrs Frisbee, was also rescued and admitted to RSPCA East Winch with a yellow plastic frisbee cutting deeply into her neck.

The seal appears to be recovering already after removal and treatment and is expected to be released into the wild in February.

Pollution and plastic pollution continue to be a major threat to the health of the oceans and the wildlife that lives in it. Taking care of our planet is unfortunately something that is not a given and it breaks our hearts that incidents like this could be so easily prevented.

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/12/20/uk-seal-found-with-frisbee-around-its-neck/

Study Finds ‘Alarming Levels” Of Chemicals In Great Barrier Reef Sea Turtles – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com

by Alex Larson

In a five year study performed by WWF Australia and partners, they have found that there are “alarming” levels of chemicals in sea turtles on the Great Barrier Reef.

The research was initiated after a mass stranding of green sea turtles in 2012, when more than 100 turtles washed ashore dead or dying in Upstart Bay, south of Townsville.

The research was conducted over the five years by collecting water samples, sediment, food, and the blood and shells of turtles to test for a wide range of elements.

In coastal locations, turtles were found to have elevated levels of metals such as cobalt antimony, and manganese in their blood and food. Those turtles that were found with higher levels of chemicals were also noticeably unhealthy.

In Upstart bay, turtles there were seen with cobalt levels as much as 25 times higher than in some coastal areas with little to no human populations and this was also the highest ever recorded for any vertebrate species. Cobalt is vital for animal and human health but in high levels it can become toxic.

The turtles are being directly impacted by human as the chemicals we use on land ends up in the ocean, threatening the clean water that turtles need to survive.

Rain or water used for agricultural washes the chemicals from land, to river and eventually the ocean. Massive amounts of soil and chemicals are washed from farms during heavy rainfalls and all that sediment and excess chemical wash over the reefs. This pollutes and destroys areas of seagrass and coral, where turtles live and feed, and is most likely responsible for the mass deaths of sea turtles in 2012.

The study, known as Rivers to Reefs to Turtles, aims to identify and measure the key pollutants in rivers, the GBR and in the turtles themselves. They hope that the data collected will help them establish a baseline of where and what needs to be addressed to help protect the ocean and its living creatures.

Scientists working on the research have also recommended expanded monitoring of turtle-population health on the Great Barrier Reef “as an indicator of the health of the reef itself”.

Associate Professor Caroline Gaus, from the University of Queensland said to WWF, “There used to be a theory that the ocean was so huge it would dilute contaminants to such an extent that it remained a relatively healthy environment for marine creatures. But people should be aware that many of the chemicals we flush down the toilet, apply to our gardens, spray on crops, or use in factories can end up in turtles and we don’t yet know how it is affecting them.”

WWF’s project partners include the University of Queensland’s National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology and School of Veterinary Science, James Cook University’s Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Research, Griffith University, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Government agencies, local Traditional Owners and natural resource management groups, and community members.

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/12/18/study-finds-alarming-levels-of-chemicals-in-great-barrier-reef-sea-turtles/

Warning Graphic Images: Police Searching For Person Who Carved Name Into Dolphin While At Sea In Spain – Sea Voice News

seavoicenews.com
by Alex Larson

Heartbreaking images show a female dolphins dead body with the name ‘JUAN’ carved into the side of the mammal.

The animal was found washed up on a beach and authorities are now hunting for the individual whom committed the atrocious act.

Credit: Central European News

The carvings as well as several other injuries appear to be have done at sea where the animal perished and later washed ashore in the south-eastern Spanish province of Almeria.

According to Equinac coordinator Eva Maria Moron, “The injuries and the cuts were not done at the beach, it must have happened at sea and the storm has pulled it out of the water.’

Spanish Civil Guard sources told reporters that the Department of Marine Service has been investigating the appearance of other dolphins found dead on the beach for months and that the latest case will be added to the investigation.

Credit: Central European News

Representatives of Equinac added that if anyone does find a dead dolphin on the coastline of Spain, they should immediately notify the authorities and that fishermen whom catch dolphins as a product should be notifying the authorities as well.

They added: “We want to make people aware of the importance of taking care of protected animals, such as marine turtles or dolphins, some people in the fishing industry are against these animals as for example they say that dolphins are eating their fish or breaking their nets and we should be aware of that.”

http://seavoicenews.com/2018/12/18/warning-graphic-images-police-searching-for-person-who-carved-name-into-dolphin-while-at-sea-in-spain/

WAN Exclusive With Marine Animal Rescue Regarding Case of Dolphin Shot In California; $10,000 Reward Offered To Find The Sick Subhuman Who Did It – World Animal News

img_20181204_1423181734627668.jpg

WAN Exclusive With Marine Animal Rescue Regarding Case of Dolphin Shot In California; $10,000 Reward Offered To Find The Sick Subhuman Who Did It

By Lauren Lewis –
November 19, 2018

The heartbreaking discovery of a dead dolphin that washed up on shore off the coast of Manhattan Beach, California, earlier this month continues to raise questions and demand answers.
Most importantly, who is the pathetic individual responsible for killing the innocent dolphin, and what possesses someone to commit such a horrible act of violence.
WAN talked with Peter Wallerstein of Marine Animal Rescue about the “senseless brutality” of the killing, and a $10,000 reward fund that the nonprofit organization has established to help authorities identify and locate the perpetrator, as well as ensure that justice is served.
“There is no reason for anyone to kill a dolphin, especially this way,” Wallerstein, who discovered the bullet wound, told WAN, further noting that the dolphin otherwise appeared to be in good shape.
A 33-year veteran of rescuing marine animals in and around Los Angeles County, Wallerstein explained that his theory of how the dolphin died was confirmed when Dr. Palmer with the Marine Mammal Care Center in Los Angeles found the bullet inside of the deceased marine mammal.
Wallerstein told WAN that he reported the incident to the National Marine Fisheries law enforcement division, the unit that should be investigating the crime, as dolphins are among the ocean mammals protected under federal law.
Jim Milbury of the National Marine Fisheries West Coast office advised WAN this afternoon that the law enforcement division was aware of the situation, he stated that it is the organization’s policy to not comment on the status of investigations.
Don’t let the tragic death of this sentient being be in vein, other dolphins need our help to ensure that justice is served, and to send a strong message that this type of senseless animal cruelty will not be tolerated or treated lightly.
It is imperative that anyone with information about this case contact the National Marine Fisheries Law Enforcement’s Hotline at (800) 853-1964.
Anyone with a tip should also contact Peter Wallerstein of Marine Animal Rescue at (310) 455-2729.
Marine Animal Rescue, which is offering the reward, will forward relevant information received to the National Marine Fisheries Law Enforcement Division to ensure an investigation into this heinous crime.
Donations to help Marine Animal Rescue save the lives of sick, injured or orphaned marine animals including: whales, seals, sea lions and seabirds, can be made Here!

https://worldanimalnews.com/wan-exclusive-with-marine-animal-rescue-reguarding-case-of-dolphin-shot-in-california-10000-reward-offered/

 

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Breaking! Court of Appeals Upholds U.S. Ban on Mexican Seafood Imports To Help Save The Remaining 15 Vaquita From Extinction – World Animal News

By WAN –
November 28, 2018

This is an illustration of the vaquita made by Greenpeace Mexico.
In a victory for one of Earth’s most endangered marine mammals, the vaquita, a federal court sided with conservationists and, for the third time, upheld a four-month-old ban on the United States importing Mexican shrimp and other seafood caught with gillnets that drown vaquita porpoises.
Rejecting a Trump administration legal challenge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirmed a preliminary order implementing a federal law that requires a ban on seafood imported from Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California and caught with gillnets that threaten the vaquita porpoise. Gillnets kill about 50% of the rapidly dwindling vaquita population every year.
“The U.S. government is wasting its time and money trying to reverse the court’s order, which will only accelerate the extinction of the critically endangered vaquita,” DJ Schubert, a wildlife biologist for the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) noted in a statement sent to WAN this morning. “It’s time for the government to accept the courts’ decisions, ensure full implementation of the ban, and continue to work with the government of Mexico to save the vaquita.”
Yesterday’s decision is critical to the survival of the estimated 15 remaining vaquita on earth.
Vaquita are now relegated to only one place on the planet, the upper Gulf of California. Fishing with gillnets is driving the vaquita to extinction because the small porpoise is easily entangled and drowned in these dangerous nets.
Conservation groups, including AWI, initially filed suit in the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York City in March and secured a preliminary ban in July on seafood imports from Mexico caught with gillnets that kill the vaquita. The departments of Commerce, Treasury and Homeland Security, which are charged with banning imports that are contributing to the vaquita’s extinction, have tried and failed to modify or undo the import ban three times.
“The federal agencies charged with protecting the vaquita should focus their resources on saving the last of these animals, rather than continuing to lose in the courtroom,” said Giulia Good Stefani, staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Immediate pressure on Mexico to ban all gillnets in the upper gulf and to clear the area of illegal nets is necessary now for the vaquita’s survival.”
The Marine Mammal Protection Act requires the U.S. government to ban seafood imports from foreign fisheries that kill or injure marine mammals, including the vaquita, at a rate above U.S. standards. The rate of vaquita killing by Mexico’s fisheries in the Gulf of California is above U.S. standards, and its efforts to stop this bycatch do not meet U.S. guidelines.
Over the past 20 years, 95% of the vaquita population has been lost. In recent years, the vaquita’s decline has accelerated. Sadly, it is predicted that vaquita will become extinct by 2021 if Mexican fishing practices and law enforcement efforts remain unchanged.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-court-of-appeals-upholds-u-s-ban-on-mexican-seafood-imports-to-help-save-the-remaining-15-vaquita-from-extinction/

Please consider adopting a vaquita or donating to the Porpoise Conservation Society Here! https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-court-of-appeals-upholds-u-s-ban-on-mexican-seafood-imports-to-help-save-the-remaining-15-vaquita-from-extinction/

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© Copyright 2018 – WorldAnimalNews.com

Heartbreaking News! 145 Pilot Whales & 4 Pygmy Killer Whales Died After Washing Ashore In New Zealand Over The Weekend – World Animal News

ByLauren Lewis –
November 26, 2018

More than 150 pilot whales were found either dead or dying in numerous separate incidents over the weekend in New Zealand.
A staggering 145 pilot whales from two pods were discovered stranded on a beach in Stewart Island late Saturday evening.
According to the Department of Conservation (DOC), half of the whales had already died by the time they were found, and the remaining ones tragically had to be euthanized.
“Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low. The remote location, lack of nearby personnel, and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanize,” DOC Rakiura Operations Manager Ren Leppens said in a statement. “However, it’s always a heart-breaking decision to make.”
The DOC reportedly responds to an average of 85 marine mammal strandings per year, but they are mostly of single animals, not pods.
Exactly why whales and dolphins strand is not fully known, but factors can include: sickness, navigational error, geographical features, a rapidly falling tide, being chased by a predator, or extreme weather. More than one factor may contribute to a stranding.
A number of strandings occurred on New Zealand shores over the weekend, however these events are unlikely to be related.
“Of the 12 pygmy killer whales which stranded just over 24 hours ago, eight are alive and are being moved from Ninety Mile Beach on the west coast to Rarawa Beach on the east coast,” Project Jonah New Zealand shared on its Facebook page yesterday, explaining that there was a stream in which the whales could survive in overnight.
As per the nonprofit, medics have been mobilized and the re-floating phase of the rescue is scheduled to begin on Tuesday at 6:30am.
Members are needed to assist with this crucial phase of the rescue.
Volunteers should report to the Rarawa Campground upon arrival on Tuesday morning. Those with wetsuits will help with the release of the pygmy killer whales into the water. Volunteers without wetsuits can help care for whales on the beach before the re-float attempt takes place.
All volunteers should bring warm clothing, a sunhat and sunblock and plenty of food and water.
Tragically, the DOC also reported that a sperm whale also beached in Doubtful Bay on Karikari Peninsula in Northland. The male whale, which is thought to have beached around 3:00pm on Friday, sadly died overnight on Saturday. A dead female pygmy sperm whale also washed up at Ohiwa over the weekend.

https://worldanimalnews.com/heartbreaking-news-145-pilot-whales-4-pygmy-killer-whales-died-after-washing-ashore-in-new-zealand-over-the-weekend/

 

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© Copyright 2018 – WorldAnimalNews.com

More than 4 dozen sea turtles killed in Cape Cod cold snap

articles-masslive-com.cdn.ampproject.org
More than 4 dozen sea turtles killed in Cape Cod cold snap
By The Associated Press Close
1-2 minutes

Animal rescue volunteers say more than four dozen sea turtles have died of exposure after washing ashore in frigid conditions on Cape Cod.

The Cape Cod Times reports that low temperatures and high winds combined to kill most of the 50 turtles that washed up Thursday in Brewster, Orleans and Eastham on the lower part of the peninsula.

The Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary says about 350 sea turtles have come ashore since Oct. 22. They include Kemp’s ridley turtles, green turtles and loggerhead turtles.

Spokeswoman Jenette Kerr says most of the animals being brought to the sanctuary are dead and in some cases literally frozen.

Biologists say the turtles are stunned by the cold water in Cape Cod Bay, which shuts down their metabolisms and renders them unable to move.

https://articles-masslive-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/articles.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/11/more_than_4_dozen_sea_turtles.amp?amp_js_v=0.1#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s

“Go Inside an Antarctic ‘City’ of 400,000 King Penguins — Ep. 4 | Wildlife: Resurrection Island”

Southern California Man Convicted After Illegally Selling Narwhal Tusks To An Undercover Officer For $30,000 Each – World Animal News

By WAN –
October 17, 2018

Left Photo by CDFW / Right Photo by Paul Nicklen – National Geographic Creative – WWF-Canada
A Los Angeles County jury recently convicted Anthony Buccola of Newport Beach, California, and his business, Antonio’s Bella Casa, on misdemeanor charges of selling narwhal tusks. Buccola and his business were found guilty on August 1st in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Buccola was sentenced to 36 months probation with search terms, 200 hours of community service or 20 days in jail, $5,000.00 fine plus penalty assessment and forfeiture of the narwhal tusks. Antonio Bella Casa, Inc, was sentenced to 36 months probation with search terms, a fine of $5,000.00 plus penalty assessment and forfeiture of the narwhal tusk. The penalty was set pursuant to Fish and Game Code, section 2022, which took effect on July 1, 2016.
The investigation began in December 2016, when wildlife officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division Trafficking Unit saw two narwhal tusks displayed at the retail antique store. The tusks were 79 and 87 inches long. An officer visited Antonio’s Bella Casa and an employee offered to sell the narwhal tusks for $35,000.00 each. He ultimately agreed to sell the tusks to an undercover officer for $30,000.00 each.
The tusks were seized as evidence and the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Lab conducted additional analysis. Wildlife forensics specialists confirmed the tusks were from narwhal, a small arctic whale.
“We would like to thank the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and specifically their Environmental Justice Unit for their assistance in this investigation and the subsequent prosecution,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Law Enforcement Division Chief in a statement. “The penalties assessed by this court should deter further acts of ivory trafficking and prove California’s commitment to halting the demand for ivory which contributes to poaching of narwhal in their native range.”
“Selling ivory is not only illegal, it’s immoral,” said Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney. “The ivory trade is abominable, with devastating consequences that imperil threatened species like the narwhal. This prosecution and conviction sends the strong message that those who may think of selling ivory tusks will be held accountable. I also want to thank our partners at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for their close partnership on this important issue.”
Assembly Bill 96, authored in 2015 by then Assembly Speaker and current Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), made it unlawful to purchase, sell, offer for sale, possess with intent to sell or import with intent to sell ivory or rhinoceros horn, except as specified. AB 96 defines ivory as the tooth or tusk from a species of elephant, hippopotamus, mammoth, mastodon, walrus, warthog, whale or narwhal, or a piece thereof, whether raw ivory or worked ivory, and includes a product containing, or advertised as containing, ivory.
A first-time violation of this law is a misdemeanor subject to specified criminal penalties and fines between $1,000.00 and $40,000.00, depending upon the value of the item.

https://worldanimalnews.com/southern-california-man-convicted-after-illegally-selling-narwhal-tusks-to-an-undercover-officer-for-30000-each/

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TAGS :Animal News,Animal Protection,Animal Welfare,conservation,Ivory,Narwhal,Whales

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Breaking! Myanmar Expands Protected Area For 76 Critically Endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins Living In The Ayeyawady River – World Animal News

By WAN –
October 16, 2018

Irrawaddy Dolphins in Myanmar. CREDIT: WCS
Working in collaboration with Myanmar’s Department of Fisheries (DoF), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has announced the creation of a new protected area for a population of critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins living in the Ayeyawady River of central Myanmar.
Sadly, earlier this year, conservationists counted a total of 76 Irrawaddy dolphins living in the Ayeyawady River between the river towns of Mandalay and Bhamo.
The new 100-kilometer (62 mile) zone will serve as an extension to an existing protected area established in 2005 between the towns of Mingun and Kyauk Myaung in collaboration between DoF and WCS.
“Establishment of the new Ayeyawady Dolphin Protected Area demonstrates the significant commitment of the Myanmar Government to conserve this charismatic species of the Ayeyawady River,” Saw Htun, Deputy Country Program Director, WCS Myanmar Program said in a statement. “WCS will collaborate with all stakeholders on coordinated efforts to save the threatened Irrawaddy dolphins in existing and new protected areas.”
To establish the new protected area, DoF and WCS consulted with over 50 villages along the river. Based on those meetings the protected area status was agreed for a 100 kilometer stretch of the river from Male to Shwegu, with a further 100 kilometers designated as a less restrictive buffer area.
Within the new protected area, use and size of gillnets are restricted to prevent dolphins from getting entangled, sometimes drowning. In addition, other methods like electric fishing and the use of dynamite and gold mining are strictly prohibited along with damage of habitat such as sandbars, grasslands, and vegetation.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-myanmar-expands-protected-area-for-76-critically-endangered-irrawaddy-dolphins-living-in-the-ayeyawady-river/

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California Moves to Ban Fishing Nets Blamed for Killing Numerous SpeciesNow

By Lorraine Chow

Silvertip Sharks (Carcharhinus albimarginatus) caught in gillnet. Jeff Rotman / Oxford Scientific / Getty Images

The California State Assembly unanimously approved a bill on Thursday that phases out the use drift gillnets in the state by January 2023.

The controversial fishing gear, which can stretch a mile long and suspend 100 feet underwater, is used by fishers to target sharks and swordfish, but the nets inadvertently entangle and kill scores of other marine animals, including endangered species.

The Assembly voted 78 to 0 on Senate Bill 1017, sponsored by state Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica). It passed 36 to 1 in the Senate in June. It now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown, who has until Sept. 30 to sign it into law.

“So grateful to everyone for their hard work pulling together a strong bipartisan vote in support of protecting marine-life from unnecessary death with SB 1017,” Allen tweeted Thursday.

Gillnet with white perch. NOAA / Chris Doley

Should the bill become law, it would create a buy-back program that offers up to $110,000 to fishers to give up their nets, NBC Bay Area reported.

California fishers said the ban threatens their livelihood and the buyout amount is not enough for them to transition to another type of fishing.

“I don’t know what I’d do,” Mike Flynn, who has used drift gillnets to catch swordfish for the past 40 years, told the publication. “There’s very few of us left, and we don’t seem to have a chance … we’re being villainized, unjustly.”

The news site reported that some 20 fisherman actively use the gear off the California coast, down from 141 active permits at its peak in 1990, according to NOAA.

The bill’s passage comes just months after conservation group Mercy For Animals and the Ban Death Nets coalition released grisly undercover footage showing the harmful impact of driftnet fishing on marine life.

Mercy For Animals celebrated the vote and urged Gov. Brown to join other governments that have outlawed the nets. “California is the last remaining U.S. state to allow driftnets, which have already been phased out off the U.S. East Coast and banned by Oregon and Washington states, the United Nations, and countries around the world,” the group stated on their website.

World Animal Protection released a report highlighting that 640,000 metric tons of fishing nets are lost or discarded in our oceans each year, trapping and killing countless marine mammals, including endangered whales, seals and turtles. Shallow coral reef habitats also suffer further degradation from the gear, which can take up to 600 years to decompose.

Earlier this week, fishermen found roughly 300 dead sea turtles off the southern Pacific coast of Mexico. The olive ridley turtles, which Mexico classifies as being at risk of extinction, were entangled in an abandoned illegal fishing net.#turtlesbit.ly/2NzxXF8

Mexico’s office of the federal attorney for environmental protection said the turtles were found in a 393-foot long net that is not approved for fishing, according to the Associated Press.

https://www.ecowatch.com/california-bans-fishing-nets-gillnets-2600792569.html?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=385f9967e3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-385f9967e3-86074753

Breaking! The Center For Biological Diversity Sued The Trump Administration For Failing To Protect Orcas’ West Coast Habitat – World Animal News

By WAN –
August 17, 2018

The Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump administration yesterday for failing to protect the West Coast ocean habitat of the last remaining Southern Resident killer whales. The critically endangered species is down to just 75 orcas, the lowest number in more than 30 years.
According to a statement, The National Marine Fisheries Service failed to act on the Center’s 2014 petition calling for an expansion of habitat protections off Washington, Oregon, and California that could help Southern Resident killer whales. Sadly, they are starving for lack of salmon as well as being hurt by boat traffic and water pollution.
“Time is running out fast for these magnificent, intelligent orcas,” said Catherine Kilduff, an attorney with the Center. “It’s heartbreaking to watch them starving to death and mourning their dead calves. Every day that Trump’s people delay action is a step toward extinction for these whales.”
In 2015, the Fisheries Service decided that expanded habitat protections were needed to safeguard key West Coast foraging and migration areas, but the Trump administration has failed to implement protections, despite broad public support for them.
While spending their summers in Puget Sound and the Salish Sea (areas protected as critical habitat in 2006), these killer whales travel extensively along the West Coast during the winter and early spring, congregating near coastal rivers to rest and feed on migrating salmon.

Map by Curt Bradley / Center for Biological Diversity

The Endangered Species Act prohibits federal agencies from authorizing activities that will destroy or harm a listed species’ critical habitat. Animals with federally protected critical habitat are more than twice as likely to be recovering as species without it, a Center study found.
“Federal law requires protection of endangered species’ habitat. Our basic humanity should lead us to help prevent these beloved orcas from dying out right in front of our eyes,” Kilduff said. “So, now we’re turning to the courts to compel the Trump administration to do the right thing.”

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-center-for-biological-diversity-sued-the-trump-administration-for-failing-to-protect-orcas-west-coast-habitat/

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A Mother’s Cry to Justin Trudeau Please Sign the Petition

greenpeace.org
https://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/story/3817/a-mothers-cry-to-justin-trudeau/

by Keith Stewart
It’s been absolutely heartbreaking to watch (and hear).

Photograph: Michael Weiss/Hysazu Photography

For the past nine days a grieving mother orca has carried the body of her dead calf.

The calf was the first in years to be born into the endangered Salish Sea orca population, but it died within just hours. The mother Orca however refused to leave her baby behind and instead carried its body with her. She pushed it by herself for days.

When she started falling behind the rest of the pod — the pod joined her in pushing and supporting the infant’s body.

It’s a truly inspiring and heartbreaking story – watching another species mourning its loss in such a dramatic manner. It speaks to the deep love that a mother has for her child, and the importance of a community especially in a time of grieving.

Unfortunately, while we all try to deal with this immediate loss, the future of the pod is also dire.

This population of orcas is on the edge of extinction. There are only 75 Southern resident orcas left in existence. Another adolescent has already been observed as extremely emaciated and because of dwindling food supplies, and increased marine traffic, the entire population is at risk.

Add to this already bleak situation the pipeline Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just pledged to buy for $4.5 billion – the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX). TMX is a massive new tar sands pipeline that would bring a very toxic substance called bitumen from Alberta, Canada to British Columbia and right through the heart of the whales’ habitat.

Only 75 Southern Resident Orcas remain.

One of the reasons these orcas are struggling to survive is because the Chinook salmon they depend on for food are in decline. Without enough salmon to eat, the orcas are literally starving to death. They’re severely emaciated — observers can even see the ribs of some of the whales.

The TMX pipeline would cross over 1300 streams and rivers on its way to the ocean and would put this key food supply even further at risk.

If it goes ahead, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion could also turn the home of the 75 remaining orcas into a tar sands tanker superhighway – bringing over 400 tankers through their critical habitat every year.

The noise from a sevenfold increase in tanker traffic may interfere with the orca’s ability to find what little food there is left to eat. It will put them at greater risk of being struck by a tanker. And a catastrophic oil spill could be the final nail in their coffin (as the Exxon Valdez spill devastated other orca pods).

These whales can’t just move on to another area. Their home is in the Salish Sea. We can’t let it be put at risk.

Justin Trudeau promised to protect these beautiful animals (in fact it’s a Federal responsibility). Buying a pipeline that would further endanger these fragile creatures and virtually ensure their demise isn’t the way to do it.

The whales are crying out for our help. Listen to their cries.

Tell Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to protect the orcas and stop the pipeline bailout.

With hope,

Mike

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World’s Largest King Penguin Colony Has Declined By Almost 90 Percent

Scientists haven’t visited the Île aux Cochons, an island in the southern Indian Ocean, since 1982 when it had the distinction of being home to the world’s largest colony of king penguins, and the second largest colony of all penguins.

At the time, there were estimate to be 500,000 breeding pairs, and over two million penguins in total, but since then things have taken a worrying turn and scientists aren’t sure why.

According to a study just published in the journal Antarctic Science, their population has declined since that last visit by almost 90 percent, leaving just 59,200 breeding pairs by 2017.
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To come to that conclusion, researchers from the Chizé Centre for Biological Studies (CNRS/University of La Rochelle) examined three decades worth of high-resolution satellite images and aerial photos taken from a helicopter to measure changes in the in the population’s size.

“It was really a surprise for us,” Henri Weimerskirch, the study’s lead author and a member of the research teams in 1982 and 2016, told the New York Times. “It’s really very depressing.”

While the exact cause of the decline remains a mystery, researchers believe climate change could be playing a role. It’s believed the decline started in the late 1990s, when there was a climactic event in the Southern Ocean related to El Niño, which pushed their food sources farther away.

As the authors note, less food with such a large population could seriously increase competition and cause a fast and rapid drop in numbers. Some other theories they have include disease and parasites, or predation by invasive feral cats and mice, but they don’t think those theories offer a “satisfactory explanation” for such a huge loss of penguins.

Right now, king penguins are listed as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, but this study has raised questions about whether they may be endangered and need to be reevaluated.

A separate study published earlier this year already raised the alarm about whether they’ll be able survive on the Crozet archipelago that contains Île aux Cochons, which are about half way between Africa and Antarctica, in the face of climate change. That study projected that half of the king penguin population, which nests on the Crozet and Prince Edward Islands, would lose their habitat by 2100.

Researchers won’t be able to draw any further conclusions until they can do an actual head count to confirm their conclusion, but that won’t happen until at least next year.

Hopefully they’ll be able to find more answers about what’s happening here, which could also help with our understanding of threats other penguin colonies are facing.

https://www.care2.com/causes/worlds-largest-king-penguin-colony-has-declined-by-almost-90-percent.html

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Breaking! U.S. Court Orders Ban of Imported Seafood Caught With Deadly Gillnets to Save Mexico’s Endangered Vaquita Porpoise From Extinction – World Animal News

By Karen Lane –
July 27, 2018
Photo by Paula Olson / NOAA
Great news was reported yesterday after U.S. Court of International Trade orders the Trump Administration to ban seafood imports from Mexico that are caught with gillnets, in order to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise.
Sadly, scientists believe that the vaquita population has dwindled from 567 in 1997 to only 15 remaining in the wild today, which has created an urgency to protect them from going extinct in the wild.
According to Viva Vaquita, an organization that aims to promote awareness and conservation for the endangered propoise, its fate is tied to that of the upper Gulf of California ecosystem and is one of the rarest and most-endangered mammal species in the world.
Mexico has continued to fail to ban all gillnets permanently in the vaquita habitat, despite scientific evidence showing the damage they are causing to the dwindling species.
Unfortunately, gillnets are commonly used by commercial and artisanal fishermen. Gillnets are vertical panels of netting normally set in a straight line that are made of transparent monofilament line, so fish and other animals are unable to see it before becoming entangled.
Often times other larger ocean animals that are not targeted by fisherman become entangled in the netting, including whales, seals, sea turtles, seabirds and sharks, many of which are also threatened or endangered by extinction.
All of this evidence makes it more apparent as to why the ban of these gillnets is so crucial.
Natural Resources Defense Council stated, “A ban on gillnet-caught seafood from Mexico’s Gulf of California is the life line the vaquita desperately needs,” said Giulia Good Stefani, staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, who argued the case before the Court. “Collectively, our organizations have spent over a decade working to save the vaquita—and never has extinction felt so close—but now, the world’s smallest and most endangered porpoise has what may be its very last chance.”
The ruling follows a lawsuit filed in March by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Animal Welfare Institute and the Center for Biological Diversity, and it affirms Congress’ mandate under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act that the United States should protect not just domestic marine mammals, but foreign whales, dolphins and porpoises as well.
Mexico must meet these standards that have recently been implemented, and failure of the Trump Administration to enforce the ban would be a direct violation of a federal judge’s order.

https://worldanimalnews.com/breaking-u-s-court-orders-ban-of-imported-seafood-caught-with-deadly-gillnets-to-save-mexicos-endangered-vaquita-porpoise-from-extinction/

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