pingers-fishery-whales-Australia

Department of Fisheries research scientist Jason How with a whale “pinger” used in a research trial.

November 25th, 2014 (Bridget Fitzgerald). Underwater signals could be used to help prevent the entanglement of whales in commercial fishing gear.

The West Australian Department of Fisheries has just concluded a three week trial in Geographe Bay to test the effectiveness of noise emitting “pingers” which may be able to steer whales away from fishing gear.

The Department is working with researchers from the South Western Whale Ecology Study to find out whether humpback whales respond to the signal sent out by the underwater pingers. Read More…

Word of mouth spread fast, inspiring hundreds of people to make the trip out on Rototai Beach to see and touch three sperm whales that stranded on the shallow tidal flats on Saturday night. Charlotte Squire

Word of mouth spread fast, inspiring hundreds of people to make the trip out on Rototai Beach to see and touch three sperm whales that stranded on the shallow tidal flats on Saturday night. Charlotte Squire

November 25th, 2014 (Te Kāe). The Department of Conservation (DoC) is working quickly to remove two dead adult sperm whales from a Golden Bay beach at the top of the South Island.

DoC is working against time to get their bodies off the beach before the carcasses start decomposing. Read More…

November 24th, 2014. A deadline for expanding critical habitat protections for the North Atlantic right whale — one of the world’s most endangered whales — has been set in response to a legal settlement agreement. Each year most of the 500 North Atlantic right whales remaining on Earth migrate from their feeding and breeding grounds off the U.S. Northeast to their nursery areas off the Southeast. But only a tiny portion of this expansive range is protected as federally designated “critical habitat” under the Endangered Species Act, making the whales more vulnerable to threats that include commercial fishing gear, ship strikes and oil drilling.

The settlement requires the federal government to make a final decision by February 2016 about where and how much additional habitat should be protected.

Sarah Uhlemann, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity said: “If these whales are going to survive in the long run, we need to protect the most important waters where they live, eat and raise their young. Every year these endangered whales have to navigate a virtual obstacle course of threats on their migration along the coast — an ocean dense with fishing nets and lines, crisscrossed by speeding vessels and increasingly roaring with underwater noise.”

In 2009, a coalition of environmental and animal protection groups formally petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to significantly expand habitat protections to include all of the whales’ nursery and breeding and feeding grounds. The petition pushed to expand the whales’ protected area more than tenfold, from roughly 4,000 square miles to more than 50,000 square miles.

Although the Fisheries Service has repeatedly acknowledged that expansion of critical habitat area is needed to protect right whales, it failed to move forward. Last spring, the groups filed suit in federal court in Boston to force action. The settlement agreement, filed on Friday, sets a legally binding deadline for the Service to issue a final decision.

Ralph Henry, senior attorney for The Humane Society of the United States said: “The National Marine Fisheries Service’s protracted failure to take action leaves whales vulnerable to injury and death in their most essential habitat areas. Protecting the right whale’s vital habitat is the most common sense step toward moving this species out of the emergency room and onto the path to recovery.”

The groups’ petition seeks expanded protection for the whale’s calving grounds off Georgia and northern Florida, critical feeding habitat off the Northeast coast and the mid-Atlantic migratory route between calving and feeding grounds. In areas designated as critical habitat, the federal government must ensure that activities including commercial fishing, vessel traffic and oil drilling will not diminish the value of the habitat or reduce the whale’s chance for recovery. This is especially important because most whales run the gauntlet of ocean dangers twice each year, migrating south to north and back again.

Jane Davenport, senior staff attorney at Defenders of Wildlife said: “The North Atlantic right whale is truly a species in crisis. Its population is perilously small and the whales face numerous threats, yet for years the Fisheries Service has refused to act. Expanding protected areas is critical to the North Atlantic right whale’s survival and recovery and this decision can’t come soon enough.”

The primary threats to imperiled right whales are ship strikes and entanglement in commercial fishing gear. In response to conservation groups’ prior actions, the agency recognized these threats by issuing a rule requiring reduced ship speeds and a rule requiring fisheries to reduce the amount of gear in the water. But the whales are also seriously threatened by habitat degradation, rising noise levels (which distress whales and can interfere with their communication), climate change, ocean acidification and pollution. Today’s agreement will help further address these threats.

Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, said: “Right whales have the potential to recover. The choices we make now are the deciding factor as to whether our grandchildren will have the opportunity to see live North Atlantic right whales off our coasts, or only be able to read about them in history books.”

Source

Posted by: The ocean update | November 25, 2014

Dead dolphin washes up on Gerroa beach (Australia)

beached-dolphin-AustraliaNovember 24th, 2014. A dead dolphin was found washed up on the shores of a Gerroa beach on Monday.

Catherine O’Leary spotted the Risso’s dolphin, believed to be about two metres long, washed up on Seven Mile Beach. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | November 23, 2014

Bodies of 500 sea lions found on Peruvian beach

mortandad-PeruNovember 23rd, 2014. Peruvian authorities were investigating Sunday the deaths of some 500 sea lions whose rotting corpses were found on a northern beach (Ed Sibylline : they won’t investigate nothing, as usual, to hide the truth ; there are more than 4 years that UME occur in this part, with thousands and thousands of dead animal : sea birds, dolphins, sea lions, fishes, etc… What about the involvement of oil companies in this process ?).

Environmental police told the official Andina news agency that the decomposing bodies of adult and juvenile sea lions were found on a beach in Santa province about 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Lima.

Police are investigating a complaint from the governor of the local Samanco district, who said the sea mammals had been poisoned by marine farmers and fishermen who harvest shellfish.

Sea lions come close to the shore to look for seafood and scallops to eat.

City workers hauled away the corpses, which risked posing a public health hazard.

In early November, the bodies of another 187 sea lions were found in the Piura region farther to the north of Peru, along with four dead dolphins and the corpses of sea turtles and dozens of pelicans.

Wildlife officials are investigating those deaths but have yet to announce their findings.

A range of possible causes are being considered, including disease, entanglement in fishing nets, the ingestion of plastic trash, hunting and seismic prospection.

Source

Posted by: The ocean update | November 23, 2014

Stranded whales die on Rototai beach (New Zealand)

Word of mouth spread fast, inspiring hundreds of people to make the trip out on Rototai Beach to see and touch three sperm whales that stranded on the shallow tidal flats on Saturday night. Charlotte Squire

Word of mouth spread fast, inspiring hundreds of people to make the trip out on Rototai Beach to see and touch three sperm whales that stranded on the shallow tidal flats on Saturday night. Charlotte Squire

November 24th, 2014. In what became a Golden Bay community event, hundreds of people turned up at Rototai beach to see and touch three dead sperm whales that had become stranded.

The whales, which ranged in length from 14 to 17 metres long were located about one kilometre out on tidal flats from the beach carpark.

Local iwi gathered to bless the three whales, which were towed by tug boat to Farewell Spit last night, once the tide was high enough to move them. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | November 23, 2014

Another dolphin found dead; villagers point finger at hunters (Thailand)

Local residents look at the corpse of another pink dolphin that was washed ashore in Nakhon Si Thammarat

Local residents look at the corpse of another pink dolphin that was washed ashore in Nakhon Si Thammarat

November 23rd, 2014 (Krisana Thiwatsirikul). Another dead pink dolphin was found washed up on a beach in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Pak Phanang district yesterday. While coastal villagers revealed that a hunting group from outside had used pair trawls to hunt dolphins in the area, as the fish could yield up to Bt100,000 if sold to an aquarium.

The two-metre-long female dolphin carcass, weighing 200kg, was found in Tambon Pak Phanang Tawan-ok and possibly had been dead for five days. It was the second case in three days after the death of a dolphin in Sichon district, which was presumed to have been caused by the fish swallowing globules of oil following the oil spill at Si Chon beach on November 19. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | November 22, 2014

Stranded long-finned pilot whale found dead in Essex river (UK)

The pilot whales became distressed after an ebb tide resulted in shallower waters off Brightlingsea

The pilot whales became distressed after an ebb tide resulted in shallower waters off Brightlingsea

November 22th, 2014 (Felix Balthasar). On Thursday, a long-finned pilot whale calf was found dead in an Essex river. As per the preliminary results from a postmortem by a specialist at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the whale probably starved to death.

Police and coastguard were called by members of the charity, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, to move the 40 pilot whales away from the Essex coastline. One of them was found dead. Read More…

November 21st, 2014. Endangered Species Nationwide Threatened by Dangerous Cooling Water Intake Structures

SAN FRANCISCO— A coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit Thursday in the Northern District of California challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s and the National Marine Fisheries Service’s opinion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recently adopted rule that allows power plants and other industrial facilities to continue the use of outdated “once-through” cooling water intake structures. These systems have been known to hurt or kill hundreds of endangered aquatic animals a year. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | November 21, 2014

Pregnant Bottlenose Dolphin Shot to Death (Florida, USA)

Horrific : Over the past several months, dolphins have washed ashore along the northern Gulf Coast with bullet wounds, missing jaws and hacked off fins. This is a bottlenose dolphin which was found dead in the water - a bullet wound can be seen bottom left

Horrific : Over the past several months, dolphins have washed ashore along the northern Gulf Coast with bullet wounds, missing jaws and hacked off fins. This is a bottlenose dolphin which was found dead in the water – a bullet wound can be seen bottom left

November 21st, 2014. Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) is offering a $2500 reward for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal and cruel acts that led to the death of a protected bottlenose dolphin.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Law Enforcement is investigating this most recent dolphin crime involving a pregnant bottlenose dolphin found dead on Miramar Beach in the panhandle-area of Florida.  A necropsy revealed the dolphin died of a gunshot wound.  She was within weeks of giving birth. Read More…

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