A swimmer at Shelly Beach at Manly is oblivious to a 1.4m dusky whaler shark below. Picture : ECO DIVERS

A swimmer at Shelly Beach at Manly is oblivious to a 1.4m dusky whaler shark below. Picture : ECO DIVERS

October 29th, 2014 (Tom Westbrooke). Less than a tenth of creatures caught in shark nets from Manly to Palm Beach are the dangerous target species the nets are supposed to be trapping.

Eight target sharks were caught and found dead in nets on the northern beaches between September and April and 75 non-target animals, mostly rays and harmless hammerhead sharks were also entangled.

The bycatch makes up more than half of the non-target species caught on the stretch of coast from Stockton, near Newcastle, to South Wollongong, where 51 beaches have nets between spring and autumn.

BEACH BY BEACH

■ Manly: 1 smooth hammerhead, 2 Australian cownose rays, 1 ornate eagle ray

■ North Steyne: 6 Australian cownose rays, 1 stingray, 1 smooth hammerhead

■ Freshwater: 1 southern eagle ray, 6 Australian cownose rays

■ Curl Curl: 3 southern eagle rays

■ Dee Why: 1 smooth hammerhead, 1 southern eagle ray, 2 bottlenose dolphins

■ Narrabeen: 4 smooth hammerheads, 1 common blacktip shark, 1 shortfin mako, 1 Australian cownose ray, 2 green turtles, 2 southern eagle rays

■ North Narrabeen: 1 dusky whaler, 1 Australian angelshark, 3 green turtles, 2 Australian cownose rays, 4 southern eagle rays

■ Warriewood: 3 southern eagle rays

■ Mona Vale: 1 bull shark, 1 smooth hammerhead, 1 black stingray, 2 southern eagle rays, 1 humpback whale calf

■ Newport: 2 southern eagle rays, 1 bottlenose dolphin

■ Bilgola: 2 southern eagle rays, 1 dusky whaler

■ Avalon: 1 shortfin mako, 2 southern eagle rays

■ Whale Beach: 2 smooth hammerhead, 6 southern eagle rays

■ Palm Beach: 1 common blacktip shark, 1 smooth hammerhead, 1 shortfin mako, 1 white spotted eagle ray, 5 southern eagle rays

Between Manly and Palm Beach, three dolphins, a whale, eight rays and four green turtles were killed by the nets, which are designed to trap sharks and stop them from forming territories at swimming beaches.

Three shortfin mako sharks, two blacktips, two dusky whalers and a bull shark – all target species – were also found dead.

Sharnie Connell, a Manly Sea Life Sanctuary aquarist and founder of No NSW Shark Cull, said the level of bycatch, 90 per cent, was “unacceptable” and that even some of the target sharks, such as the broad-nosed sevengill shark, posed little danger to humans.

“The shark meshing program is a placebo,” she said.

“(It) only works to create an illusion of public safety, sharks are able to swim, over, under and around the nets.”

TOTAL HAUL

Target

2 dusky whalers

2 common blacktip sharks

3 shortfin makos

1 bull shark

Total: 8

Non-target

1 Australian angel shark

11 smooth hammerheads

54 rays

5 green turtles

3 dolphins

1 humpback whale calf

Total: 75

Manly Council has also called for a review of the shark meshing program to canvass alternatives.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries, who run the shark meshing program, said the nets are fitted with pingers to deter dolphins and whales. Non-target animals are freed and released alive wherever possible.

A department statement said that the meshing program is “highly successful” and that “no viable alternatives to shark nets have been found”.

HISTORY

■ Between 1934 and 1936 there were four fatal shark attacks on the northern beaches

■ Shark meshing was introduced to Sydney’s beaches in September 1937

■ There have been no fatal shark attacks at Sydney’s ocean beaches since then

■ In 2003 the NSW Scientific Committee determined that meshing threatens the survival of turtles, sharks, dolphins, dugongs and whales

A harmless Port Jackson shark tangled in a net.

A harmless Port Jackson shark tangled in a net.

 Source

Posted by: The ocean update | October 29, 2014

Blue whale still stranded in Lembata (Indonesia)

October 29th, 2014. Five endangered blue whales became stranded on a beach in Watodiri village’s Waienga Bay in Ile Ape district, Lembata Island regency, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) on Oct. 18.

As of Tuesday, rescuers were still struggling to save the last whale trapped in the bay. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | October 29, 2014

Humpback whale washed up on Waikanae Beach (New Zealand)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014. A 10 metre whale has washed up on Waikanae Beach, south of Waikanae Boat Club.

DOC is working with local iwi Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai to ensure tikanga is followed in management of the whale on the beach, and during the burial process.

Brent Tandy, DOC Senior Ranger, confirmed it is a humpback whale, “It is approximately 10 meters long, and estimated at 20-30 tonnes.” Read More…

October 28th, 2014. HONOLULU— The National Marine Fisheries Service today issued regulations allowing Hawaii-based longline fishermen to ignore international agreements and continue fishing for bigeye tuna after reaching the cap allowed for U.S. fishing vessels. Highly valued for sushi, bigeye tuna has been increasingly in demand for the past decade ; meanwhile scientists have sounded the alarm over unsustainable fishing levels and declining populations.

“Bigeye tuna are in serious trouble, and this rule only makes it worse. Not only will these tuna pay the price, but so will the whales, dolphins and other animals that get caught on their hooks,” said Catherine Kilduff with the Center for Biological Diversity. “International limits were put in place for a reason, and this rule is simply a cynical workaround to allow fishing to go right ahead even though the limit’s already been caught.”

Today’s rule, which implements an amendment to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific Region approved earlier this year (Amendment 7), dodges quotas intended to prevent overfishing by creating a separate quota for “U.S. Pacific Territories” and then allowing that quota to be transferred to Hawaii-based fishermen who neither fish in territorial waters nor land their catch in the territories.

“The United States should set an example for responsible fishing, not make a mockery of international protections for imperiled bigeye tuna that it agreed to less than a year ago,” said David Henkin, a staff attorney at Earthjustice. “If we want future generations to have fish to eat, the United States needs to live up to its commitments and limit bigeye catch by longline fishers flying the U.S. flag, wherever they fish.”

Bigeye tuna, warm-blooded predators similar to endangered bluefin tuna, swim in deep waters around Hawaii and across the Pacific Ocean. Currently at their lowest historical levels, bigeye tuna have been experiencing overfishing since the 1990s. From 1996 to 2008, the number of longline hooks set in Hawaii fishing grounds increased fourfold. On top of fishing stress, climate change threatens to warm ocean waters in a way that could kill off Pacific bigeye by century’s end.

“With thousands of dangling hooks on lines stretching up to 60 nautical miles long and 1,150 feet deep, Hawaii’s deep-set longliners create a curtain of death across huge swaths of the ocean, indiscriminately catching large amounts of other marine life along with the targeted bigeye tuna, including humpback and sperm whales, false killer whales, dolphins, sharks and seabirds,” said Marjorie Ziegler, executive director of Conservation Council for Hawaii. “The Fisheries Service should not be looking for ways to expand this extraordinarily wasteful fishery, which discards about 40 percent of the fish it catches.”

Source

Posted by: The ocean update | October 28, 2014

Norway Wanted To Send Whale Meat To Iceland

norwegian_whale_meatOctober 28th, 2014 (Paul Fontaine). Documents obtained by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) revealed that a Norwegian whaling company has sought to ship about 10 metric tonnes of minke whale meat to Iceland, and Iceland’s most prominent whaler stands to directly benefit from the deal.

According to a statement posted by the AWI, the Norwegian whaling company Lofothval has sought permission to ship the minke whale meat to Iceland only weeks after the United States criticised Norway over whaling at the 65th meeting of the International Whaling Commission. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | October 27, 2014

Beached whale dies on Tain sands despite rescue effort (Scotland, UK)

The long-finned pilot whale was stranded on the mud flats at Tain

The long-finned pilot whale was stranded on the mud flats at Tain

October 27th, 2014. A long-finned pilot whale has died after becoming stranded on mud flats near an Easter Ross beach.

More than 100 locals gathered round the stricken mammal as it was pulled 55 yards inshore and lifted by a crane onto a truck at Tain Links.

The 14ft long young male cetacean is thought to have become stuck after becoming separated from its pod in deeper waters. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | October 27, 2014

‘Nail in coffin for Norwegian seal hunting’ : Govt cuts subsidies

Photo Reuters / John Jansen / NOAA's Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Photo Reuters / John Jansen / NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center

October 27th, 2014. Norway has cut a 12 million kroner ($1.8 million) subsidy for seal hunting from next year’s budget. Environmentalists have applauded the move. Some businesses say it is putting an end to a historical and eco-friendly practice.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries say stripping the seal industry of subsidy has been dictated by “economic priorities.” The government is aware of how vital the financial support has been for the business. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | October 26, 2014

Indus dolphin rescued from Rice canal (Pakistan)

Photo by Albert Reichert

Photo by Albert Reichert

October 26th, 2014. SUKKUR : The wildlife department has rescued a rare blind dolphin which remained trapped for two days in the shallow waters of the Rice canal in the Sukkur barrage area, officials said on Saturday.

After getting information about the dolphin, wildlife staffers reached the spot, rescued the dolphin and release it in the deep waters of the Indus on Friday. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | October 26, 2014

Whale washes ashore in Batemans Bay (Australia)

A dead eight-metre whale washes ashore in the Clyde River. Pictures: The Haberlah family, Kerrie O'Connor

A dead eight-metre whale washes ashore in the Clyde River. Pictures: The Haberlah family, Kerrie O’Connor

October 26th, 2014 (Kerrie O’Connor). An eight-metre dead whale has washed onto rocks on the northern shore of Batemans Bay.

ACT visitor David Haberlah saw the whale on Saturday, mid-afternoon, just minutes before waves dumped it at North Head beach, near Yellow Rock.

With his four-year-old daughter Siwa, the geologist hurried to the scene on October 25 . Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | October 23, 2014

Cause unknown : Investigation after dolphin found dead (Cambodia)

File pic. by P. Garbett

File pic. found by P. Garbett

October 23th, 2014. Authorities are investigating the death of a dolphin found floating in the Mekong River in Kratie province on Tuesday.

Fishermen found the dead male dolphin in a part of the river that runs through Chet Borei district’s Sambok commune, said Kin Sok, a representative of the fishing community.

A river ranger preliminarily attributed the death to a sudden change in water temperature – since there were no marks indicating a net killed the dolphin – but Sok believes illegal fishing tactics are to blame. Read More…

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