Japan’s whaling fleet en route to Southern Ocean for ‘scientific’ hunts
Anti-whaling activists are putting pressure on the Australian government as Japan’s whaling fleet heads to the Southern Ocean for another season of ‘scientific whaling’. This winter, it hopes to kill up to 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales. Last season, the fleet returned to Japan with just 103 whales, its lowest catch ever, which it blamed it on dangerous tactics used by Sea Shepherd. The activist group fleet is expected to leave for the Southern Ocean in just over a week. The hunt and subsequent clashes between whalers and activists continue as the world awaits decision on Australia’s legal attempt to ban the hunt altogether. To learn more about the case, check out this article: Will ‘Scientific’ Whaling Continue in Antarctica?
Ship strike reduction rule proves effective protecting North Atlantic right whales
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently announced that the ship strike reduction rule will become permanent. Established in 2008, the rule requires large ships to travel at speeds of 10 knots or less at certain times in specific areas where right whales are known to feed and reproduce. North Atlantic right whales are particularly vulnerable to fatal ship strikes because they swim so slowly. There are only about 425 individuals left so this ruling is critical to their survival.
WDC survey finds New Zealanders are willing to pay to protect rare dolphins
Between 110 and 150 Hector’s dolphins die in fishing nets every year in New Zealand. The population has plunged from 30,000 to only 7,200 individuals over the last few decades, but they still haven’t gotten the protection they need. An independent survey commissioned by Whale and Dolphin Conservation found that 80% of New Zealanders are willing to help pay to increase protection for these dolphins. The money would come from an increase in fish prices to cover the costs of new marine reserves.
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.