The whale meat tends to have high mercury levels that are not suitable for human consumption, claims critics (Photo : Colourbox)

The whale meat tends to have high mercury levels that are not suitable for human consumption, claims critics (Photo : Colourbox)

August 31th, 2014 (Lawrence Shanahan). Cruise ships bringing thousands of passengers and millions of kroner to the islands a year threatening to halt travel if slaughter does not end.

The Faroese tourism industry is slowly but surely paying the price for its annual ‘Grind’, the traditional slaughter of around 1,000 pilot whales every October, which all-year round draws worldwide criticism from animal rights groups and other concerned parties. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | August 29, 2014

Census : Orca Population in Puget Sound Falling (Washington state, USA)

August 29th, 2014. FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. With two new deaths this year and no new calves since 2012, the population of endangered killer whales in the Puget Sound continues to decline.

The number of whales in J, K and L pods has dropped to 78, a level not seen since 1985, According to a census by the Center for Whale Research. Adding to the concerns, the whales appear to be “splintering” from their pods, which are their basic social groups.

Since 1976, Ken Balcomb of the research center has been observing the Puget Sound orcas, or Southern Residents as they’re known among scientists. Balcomb compiles an annual census of the population for submission to the federal government. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | August 29, 2014

Entangled humpback whale frees itself in Monterey Bay (California, USA)

A humpback whale is caught in fishing line on Thursday in Monterey Bay. A volunteer crew from the Whale Entanglement Team (WET) watched as the drama unfolded. "The whale appeared to be trying to get out of the line wrapped on its head," said WET member Kate Cummings. The whalea eventually freed itself from the fishing line. (Kate Cummings -- Blue Ocean Whale Watch)

A humpback whale is caught in fishing line on Thursday in Monterey Bay. A volunteer crew from the Whale Entanglement Team (WET) watched as the drama unfolded. “The whale appeared to be trying to get out of the line wrapped on its head,” said WET member Kate Cummings. The whalea eventually freed itself from the fishing line. (Kate Cummings — Blue Ocean Whale Watch)

August 29th, 2014 (Dennis Taylor). Volunteer team among responders

MOSS LANDING >> An imperiled humpback whale, entangled by fishing line, managed to free itself Thursday while an all-volunteer crew from the Whale Entanglement Team (WET) stood by, waiting to assist if needed.

The drama unfolded after WET member Kate Cummings, a naturalist who was leading a tour of Monterey Bay for Blue Ocean Whale Watch, observed the whale displaying unusual surface behavior.

Cummings spotted a green line across the head of the humpback, with line trailing on each side of the animal.

“The humpback whale was doing a cross between a head rise and a few chin slaps,” Cummings said. “The whale appeared to be trying to get out of the line wrapped on its head.” Read More…

Endangered manatees are known to swim in the area.

Endangered manatees are known to swim in the area.

August 29th, 2014.

  • Explosive blasts by Castex Energy will go on for a year in the shallow coastal region in near-shore Louisiana.
  • Dolphins were not part of the state permit review process, Castex spokesman claims that they are unaware of the requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
  • Endangered sea turtles are not protected by federal law in the water until they are three miles from shore, so they were not part of the review process either.
  • Louisiana Department of Fish and Game refuses to disclose what endangered species, such as manatees, may be affected by the seismic blasts.
  • Shrimp fishermen are being chased off, and there is fear that the shrimp will move into deep water to avoid the blasts.
  • Yet the state requires the seismic testing to stop during recreational duck hunting season.

The state of Louisiana appears to have put the interests of recreational duck hunting ahead of the welfare of endangered species or the economic need of shrimpers, and have granted the Castex Energy company permission to assault a 435 square mile region of shallow coastal water with explosive seismic tests. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | August 28, 2014

Humpback Whale Saved From Netting

August 28th, 2014 (Paul Fontaine). The Icelandic Coast Guard rescued a whale that had been caught in netting, with the whole event record on video.

statement from the Icelandic Coast Guard announces that they received a call yesterday morning of a whale near Skagafjörður that had reportedly gotten caught in some fishing netting. The whale had attempted to free itself, but a rope from the net was entangled around its tail, and it was swimming not far from shore. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | August 28, 2014

2 whales die after washing up on St. Augustine Beach (Florida, USA)

Dead-whale-on-beachAugust 28th, 2014. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. – Two pygmy sperm whales died after beaching themselves on St. Augustine Beach, near the Ocean Trace beach access, Thursday afternoon, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The mother died on the beach and the calf died while being taken to Marineland.

No other information was immediately available.

Whale-calf--closeup

Source

August 28th, 2014. Kyodo – Japan plans to declare its intention to continue “research whaling” during a general meeting of the International Whaling Commission to be held in Slovenia in mid-September, government sources said Wednesday.

Tokyo is expected to convey its desire to resume its scientific whaling program in the Antarctic despite an order by the International Court of Justice in March to halt the activity, a move that is likely to draw flak from antiwhaling IWC member countries. Read More…

The sperm whale skeleton could be ready for display by the end of the year. Courtesy of Shamsun Nahar Sherin

The sperm whale skeleton could be ready for display by the end of the year. Courtesy of Shamsun Nahar Sherin

August 27th, 2014 (Martin Croucher). FUJAIRAH – It is now two years since a sperm whale washed up on a Fujairah beach, and one of the most unpleasant waiting games continues.

The unusual sight of a 13-metre whale washed up in an area where it would not normally be seen was a public spectacle for almost a week in May 2012.

The plan was to give its carcass time to decompose, a process that should only take about a year, and then it could go on public display in Fujairah. However, two years down the line, it is still not ready.

The carcass was buried in a dry patch of land in Fujairah to aid its decomposition. When only its bones remained, they would have been dug out and put on display.

But last month officials from Fujairah Municipality took spades to the area of land where the whale was buried and found that a good portion of its body had still not decomposed.

“We dug it up a little about a month ago, but it still needs some time,” said Mohammed Al Afkham, the Director General of Fujairah Municipality. “We are keeping it under observation.”

The Environment Society of Oman has categorised three species of baleen whale and a species of sperm whale that are common in Omani waters.

But it is rare for a sperm whale to swim in to the Arabian Gulf.

Burying whales for a time is a common way of stripping their skeleton, and normally takes only a year if it is laid in dry earth, close to the sea. However, there is a risk that the entire carcass can rot, in which case the bones will not be usable.

Another way is to do it by hand, but Fujairah officials at the time discovered the whale had already been dead for 20 days at sea, and to do it manually would have posed a health risk.

It is not clear how the animal died, although marine experts at the time speculated it might have been upon contact with an oil spill.

Mr Al Afkham said he was hoping to put the skeleton on display at a marine exhibit in the emirate.

“It’s something that people should look at,” he said. “It’s a sperm whale, which is quite rare in this part of the world.”

The sperm whale can grow to 20 metres in length and can dive as deep as three kilometres. It lives primarily on squid but also on fish.

The clicking noise it produces is the loudest sound made by any mammal, and it can live as long as 70 years.

Mr Al Afkham said he expected the decomposition to finish soon.

“It will probably be ready by the end of the year, but we don’t want to take it out too early and break the bones,” he said. “We want to give it a bit of time to make sure all the meat drains out.”

The body of the animal has been buried in an empty, unmarked area near the coast.

“We have dug a very nice grave for it,” said Mr Al Afkham, who added that the public will not be told of its exact location.

“We don’t want to put a signpost for everyone to come. We don’t want someone to do something wrong there,” he said.

The director general said there was no chance of its location being lost: “We know exactly where it is. We’re taking good care of it, don’t worry.”

Ed Sibylline : just sordid !

Source

A submersible platform allows whale watchers into the water with whales.

A submersible platform allows whale watchers into the water with whales.

August 27th, 2014 (Eric Tlozek). Tour operators and whale conservationists are split over a Queensland Government trial that allows people to swim with whales.

Queensland has become the first Australian state to allow people to swim with humpback whales, softening otherwise strict regulations, as part of a three-year trial.

Operators in the southern Queensland town of Hervey Bay hope it will reverse falling visitor numbers at the whale-watching mecca. Read More…

Posted by: The ocean update | August 27, 2014

Dugong deaths on par with whales (Australia)

An estimated 1600 dugongs are killed in Territory waters each year. Picture : GBRMPA

An estimated 1600 dugongs are killed in Territory waters each year. Picture : GBRMPA

August 26th, 2014 (Megan Palin). A CONSERVATIONIST has labelled Australians “hypocrites” for condemning Japanese whalers while hundreds of dugongs are reportedly slaughtered in Top End waters every year.

Australian wildlife activist Colin Riddell said dugongs were at risk of extinction because federal laws allow traditional land owners to hunt and kill the animals without restriction. Read More…

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