Iceland’s Commercial Whaling Undermines Conservation Efforts

Written by on February 10, 2014 in Other News

Daily Summary

Hvalur whaling ships.

Hvalur whaling ships. Photo credit: Ingvar_Sv via photopin cc.

Interior Certifies that Iceland’s Commercial Whaling Undermines International Wildlife Conservation
Last week, the Department of the Interior certified to President Obama that Iceland’s international trade in whale meat products “diminishes the effectiveness of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)” and undermines worldwide efforts to protect whales. From 2008 to 2012, more than 1.6 million kilograms of endangered fin whale meat and products were exported to the Japanese market, even though Appendix I of CITES prohibits trade primarily for commercial purposes. Iceland also does not follow proper procedures to assess sustainable catch levels, and instead sets its own arbitrary quotas.

Study finds plenty more little fish in the sea
New research suggests that the global biomass of fish is at least 10 times more than estimated. An international team of scientists investigated mesopelagic fish, open-ocean species found in the mid-depths, from 200m to 1000m below the surface. These typically small fish “tend to dominate the world biomass.” They have remarkable vision and can sense pressure and motion, which allows them to avoid nets and other fishing gear. This new study involving 400 scientists, $23 million dollars, and two ships circumnavigating the globe found that there could be more than 3000 million tons of mesopelagic fish in the ocean.

Lantern fish.

Lantern fish. Photo credit: Emma Kissling.

Why whale poo is good for the oceans… and us
Here’s another great piece from BBC’s Power of Nature series. This short film focuses on whale poop, which turns out to be a very important ingredient in the oceans. Whales excrete near the surface, releasing nutrients where sunlight and oxygen are plentiful. This combination facilitates the growth of phytoplankton, which produce half of the oxygen that we breathe. Learn more about the Power of Nature series here.

Humpback Whale breaching.

Humpback Whale breaching. Photo credit: NOAA NEFSC.

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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