Tag: Life

Breaking! Whale Entanglement Prevention Act Aims To End The Suffering & Death Of Endangered Marine Life Off The Coast Of California

This week, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, along with co-sponsors Social Compassion in Legislation and The Center for Biological Diversity introduced AB 534, The Whale Entanglement Prevention Act.

The measure was created because of changing ocean conditions and the fact that while California has long been a leader in wildlife conservation and sustainable fishing operations, the crabbing industry continues to use antiquated trapping gear that needlessly kills and injures critically endangered whales, sea turtles, and other marine species.

This critical bill will require the California Dungeness crabbing industry, and other trap fisheries, to use ropeless gear by November 1, 2025, effectively making California a leader in whale protection.

“California is a global leader in technology and innovation, yet we continue to trap crabs with archaic technology that puts our cherished marine wildlife at risk,” Assemblymember Bonta said in a statement sent to WAN. “As we move into the future, we can have both productive crabbing operations and oceans that are safe for whales and sea turtles. Whale-safe ropeless crabbing gear is already available; now we’re just implementing a deadline that crabbers can work with to make the necessary transition.”

Ropeless gear is the only way to eliminate the risk of entanglement while permitting crabbing to continue. The gear allows traps on the seafloor to be remotely called to the surface and removes the static vertical lines in the water column that entangle whales, sea turtles, and other marine animals.

Either a stowed rope and buoy, or a lift bag, sits on the seafloor attached to a trap which contains an acoustic modem and GPS that records its location. When fishers return to that location, a signal from a second paired modem on their boat using high-frequency sound waves triggers the buoy or lift bag to come to the surface. The traps can then be hauled up using traditional crabbing practices.

“It is heartbreaking that so many whale entanglements are happening off the coast of California,” stated Leah Sturgis, Vice President of Wildlife Protection, Social Compassion in Legislation. “It’s unbelievable that we have tolerated the loss of so much marine life, in particular the endangered pacific blue whale, of which there are only a few thousand left. So many lives could be saved with the use of this technology.”

Following several years of record-breaking numbers of entanglements reported off the coast of California, the Department of Fish and Wildlife recently enacted regulations to reduce the number of endangered blue whales, humpback whales, and leatherback sea turtles becoming entangled in commercial Dungeness crabbing gear.

However, the regulations have not eliminated entanglement risk and rely heavily on constant data collection and analysis to inform the implementation of potential risk-reduction measures. This may only trigger management actions after entanglements occur, and also rely on closures, including delaying the start of the season or ending it early, as the primary way to reduce risk which creates uncertainty for crabbers about where and when they will be able to crab.

“Whales and other marine life have long been exploited by humans, nearing the point of extinction,” said Judie Mancuso, CEO and Founder of Social Compassion in Legislation. “It’s time we prioritize and protect our most magnificent ocean creatures and put whale entanglements in the past.”

Various types of ropeless crabbing gear are currently being tested in Canada and on the East and West Coasts of the United States, and such gear is currently being used in a lobster fishery in Australia.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Breaking! Whale Entanglement Prevention Act Aims To End The Suffering & Death Of Endangered Marine Life Off The Coast Of California appeared first on World Animal News.

Source link

Breaking! U.S. Government Signs Off On Seismic Airgun Blasting In The Gulf Threatening The Survival Of Endangered Whales & Marine Life

The National Marine Fisheries Service has broadly authorized seismic airgun oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The long-awaited final rule comes in response to a court-ordered settlement of a lawsuit brought by environmental groups.

The move promotes the expansion of oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico as the Trump administration leaves office. President-elect Biden promised to end fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and waters during his presidential campaign.

“We need better protections for wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, not more oil exploration that will deafen whales and deepen our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels,” Miyoko Sakashita, ocean program director with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “President-elect Biden needs to put an end to offshore oil leasing because we are in a climate emergency.”

The rule authorizes oil and gas companies to explore for fossil fuels using seismic airguns that are harmful to whales and dolphins. It allows seismic surveys to harm and harass marine mammals up to 8.7 million times in the Gulf of Mexico over five years.

“This decision ignores years of science on the harms of seismic testing,” stated Michael Jasny, Director of Marine Mammal Protection at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s galling but not surprising that the Trump administration, with one foot out the door, would sign off on continually harming endangered whales for the benefit of polluters.”

The rule estimates that seismic blasting will disturb and harass the Gulf’s Bryde’s whales more times than its entire population of just 33 remaining individuals.

As previously reported by WAN, seismic exploration surveys use extensive arrays of high-powered airguns to search for oil. These generate the loudest human sounds in the ocean, short of explosives. The blasts, which can effectively reach more than 250 decibels, can cause hearing loss in marine mammals, disturb essential behaviors such as feeding and breeding over vast distances, mask communications among whales and dolphins, as well as injure and kill a diversity of fish and invertebrates.

Prior to the lawsuit, the oil and gas industry conducted seismic surveys for decades without the permits required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. During the lawsuit’s pendency, a settlement compelled mitigation for seismic surveys, avoiding duplicative surveys and certain area restrictions, and required consideration of additional measures to protect the Gulf from future surveys.

The new rule ends that mitigation, adopts less stringent measures, and rejects alternatives designed to reduce harm to marine life. Although the rule improves upon the lawless history of seismic activities, the plaintiffs say it justifies the harm it anticipates only by ignoring the standards in our wildlife protection statutes.

“We need to be phasing out oil and gas activity in the Gulf, not increasing it,” said Brettny Hardy, attorney for Earthjustice. “This rule will allow unlimited and overlapping seismic activity in the Gulf in sensitive areas, like coastal waters. Why are we harming our already imperiled marine mammals to allow thousands of harmful air gun surveys to take place when we are supposed to be heading toward a cleaner future? We need laws to take on the scope and scale of biodiversity loss and harm to communities that depend on healthy ecosystems, not regulations that propagate the destruction of those systems. The only viable answer for our wildlife and our communities is to put an end to offshore drilling for good.”

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit that are calling for the marine mammal protection and environmental review include NRDC, the Center for Biological Diversity, Healthy Gulf, and Sierra Club. They are represented by Earthjustice.

The post Breaking! U.S. Government Signs Off On Seismic Airgun Blasting In The Gulf Threatening The Survival Of Endangered Whales & Marine Life appeared first on World Animal News.

Source link

‘Save A Life This Thanksgiving, Adopt A Turkey’ Billboard Campaign Launched By Peace 4 Animals & WAN In LA To Support Farm Sanctuary

Peace 4 Animals, World Animal News (WAN), and Farm Sanctuary are once again encouraging people to make the compassionate choice for the holidays by adopting a turkey rather than eating one for Thanksgiving dinner.

“We began the ‘Save A Life This Thanksgiving, Adopt A Turkey’ billboard campaign after realizing that something needed to be done to raise awareness about the estimated 46 million turkeys who are killed in the United States for Thanksgiving alone each year,” said Katie Cleary, Founder and President of Peace 4 Animals and World Animal News. “Taking action to save the lives of animals is the most important thing that we can do to create positive change for ourselves, our planet, and of course, for the animals. This campaign, in partnership with Farm Sanctuary, sends a clear message to choose compassion on your plate and change the way we’re conditioned to think about farm animals in this country; to actually make a connection to who we are eating.”

Farm Sanctuary Adoptable Turkeys Include Venus “The Champion”

The 2020 ‘Save A Life This Thanksgiving Adopt A Turkey’ billboard is strategically located on the highly-trafficked 710 Long Beach Freeway near the Imperial Highway exit in the city of Lynwood in Los Angeles County.

Farm Sanctuary Adoptable Turkeys Include Ferris “The Hotshot”

“If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of empathy and that our choices impact the lives of others,” Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur told WAN. “If we can celebrate a more joyous ‘turkey day’ without causing unnecessary killing and suffering, why wouldn’t we? By widening our circle of compassion to include one of the most abused creatures on the planet, we can prevent the enormous harm that factory farming causes people and other animals.”

Farm Sanctuary Adoptable Turkeys Include Tutu “The Charmer”

For only $35.00, anyone from anywhere around the world can sponsor a turkey that was saved by Farm Sanctuary. The rescued turkeys are given a new life at one of the organization’s sanctuaries located in Watkins Glen, New York, or Los Angeles, California.

Farm Sanctuary Adoptable Turkeys Include Sandy “The Sweetheart”

Venus “The Champion,” Ferris “The Hotshot,” Tutu “The Charmer,” Sandy “The Sweetheart,” and Jackie “The Queen” are among Farm Sanctuary’s adoptable turkeys this year. The fee to adopt the flock is only $150.00.

Farm Sanctuary Adoptable Turkeys Include Jackie “The Queen”

“Thanksgiving and turkeys have become synonymous, but sadly, not in a way that celebrates them. At Farm Sanctuary, we’re trying to change that,” noted Farm Sanctuary’s CEO, Megan Watkins. “By highlighting the unique personalities of these birds, while also exposing the abuse that they face in an unjust food system, we inspire people to start new compassionate traditions, like adopting a rescued turkey for Thanksgiving instead of eating one.”

Farm Sanctuary will send everyone who adopts a turkey an adoption certificate that reminds people that turkeys are living, feeling beings, who deserve to be treated with kindness and compassion.

The flock

“Spreading awareness about the benefits of a plant-based diet is among the many critical issues WAN and Peace 4 Animals strive to address on a daily basis, and we welcome the opportunity to support other like-minded organizations such as Farm Sanctuary to amplify this important message,” shared Cleary. “It is more important than ever to spread compassion this year. Adopting a turkey instead of eating one on Thanksgiving is a life-changing step in the right direction towards a more compassionate world.”

Please join Peace 4 Animals, WAN, and Farm Sanctuary in making this Thanksgiving a compassionate one for ALL by sponsoring a Turkey HERE!

Source link

The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act Was Introduced To Tackle The Climate Crisis & Protect Marine Life In The U.S.

House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) unveiled the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act, along with House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor (D-Fla.), and original cosponsors, and supporters. This landmark legislation was introduced by more than a dozen members of the House of Representatives to address the ocean impacts of climate change and reform federal ocean management to better account for climate mitigation.

“A healthy ocean is key to fighting the climate crisis,” Grijalva said in a statement. “This bill provides a roadmap for ocean and coastal climate resilience, and uses them to curb the pollution that is intensifying the climate crisis. We must stop the ongoing damage to our oceans to protect the food, jobs, and coastlines that millions of Americans depend on.”

“The ocean is a powerful ally in the climate fight, and unleashing its potential will help us reach our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier,” noted Castor. “The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act incorporates many of the recommendations in our Climate Crisis Action Plan, which gives Congress a roadmap for creating a healthier, more resilient, and more just America. It will unleash the incredible power of the ocean and address the threat that offshore drilling poses to America’s coastal communities, including my own community in Tampa Bay.”

The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act:

Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The bill supports the transition to a clean energy economy by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with ocean sectors and increasing ocean-based renewable energy; helping to move away from fossil fuels and protect the ocean and coastal habitats that are important to healthy fish, marine wildlife, and coastal economies.

Increases Carbon Storage in Blue Carbon Ecosystems. The bill recognizes the carbon storage potential and other co-benefits provided by “blue carbon” ecosystems like salt marshes, sea grasses, and mangroves. These ecosystems absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and safely store it at a rate of up to four times that of forests on land. They also protect coastal communities by limiting the impacts of coastal erosion, flooding, and storms; all while providing habitat for marine wildlife.

Promotes Coastal Resiliency and Adaptation. This is necessary to protect the coasts and communities from the climate impacts that cannot be avoided. It authorizes investment in coastal restoration and resilience that is a win-win for the economy, frontline communities, and the environment. 

Improves Ocean Protection. This is done by promoting and protecting healthy ocean systems and wildlife populations, which are better able to adapt to the effects of climate change. Marine protected areas, like protected areas on land, are a key part of protecting biodiversity while tackling climate change, which is more critical than ever due to the current biodiversity crisis.

Restores U.S. Leadership in International Ocean Governance. The bill aims to strengthen U.S. leadership in international ocean governance at a time when transboundary pressures on the ocean demand a coordinated response. These actions would both strengthen U.S. security and promote a resilient global ocean for the 21st century.

The newly introduced legislation enjoys enthusiastic support from environmental groups and ocean experts.

Our ocean is often portrayed as a victim of climate change, but the reality is that it offers a wealth of powerful solutions to fight the climate crisis, from spurring offshore renewable energy and banning new offshore drilling, to protecting blue carbon ecosystems, and creating new marine protected areas in order to conserve 30% of the ocean by 2030,” stated Alex Taurel, Conservation Program Director for the League of Conservation Voters.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act Was Introduced To Tackle The Climate Crisis & Protect Marine Life In The U.S. appeared first on World Animal News.

Source link

Michigan Hunter Kurt Johnston Duncan Receives Jail Time & Is Banned From Hunting For Life After Poaching 18 Gray Wolves & Several Bald Eagles

A Michigan hunter named Kurt Johnston Duncan was sentenced Tuesday under a plea deal after being accused of poaching numerous species, including 18 gray wolves over the past 18 months.

Wolves are protected in Michigan and are on the federal endangered species list, they are off limits to hunters.

56-year-old Duncan pleaded guilty in September to seven poaching crimes following an investigation by Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers.

Chippewa County District Court Judge Eric Blubaugh sentenced Duncan to pay a total of $36,240; $27,000 as reimbursement for the animals illegally taken and $9,240 in court fees and costs. Duncan also received 90 days of jail time; 30 of which will be held in aside should he violate probation which will last between 18 and 24 months.

Perhaps most importantly, Duncan was penalized with a lifetime revocation of all hunting and trapping licenses in Michigan; including that he may not assist anyone else in any hunting or trapping activities. Duncan is not allowed to hunt in 48 states that are members of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact.

“This is a historical case for the division and department,” Chief Gary Hagler, DNR Law Enforcement Division, said in a statement. “We hope this poaching case acts as a deterrent to criminals for committing future wildlife crimes such as this. Our officers did an excellent job working as a team and building this investigation so it could move quickly through the criminal justice system.”

The Michigan DNR’s months-long investigation of Duncan identified 125 wildlife misdemeanor crimes.

Species involved in the charges also include: deer, turkey, bear, and bobcat. DNR law enforcement detectives said that Duncan was using the animals for a variety of reasons including crafts and selling or disposing of them. They also stated that he was catching the animals because he could and “likes to do it.” That is sick.

On September 24th, Duncan accepted a plea deal by Chippewa County Prosecutor Robert Stratton. Duncan pleaded guilty to three counts of the illegal take and possession of wolves, three counts of the illegal take and possession of bald eagles, and one count of illegal commercialization of a wolf which, as noted above, is a protected species in Michigan.

Conservation officers in Michigan are fully commissioned state peace officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety, and protect citizens by providing general law enforcement duties and life-saving  operations in the communities they serve.

Anyone witnessing a natural resources crime or has information about such a crime is encouraged to call or text the DNR’s Report All Poaching Hotline at 800-292-7800.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

The post Michigan Hunter Kurt Johnston Duncan Receives Jail Time & Is Banned From Hunting For Life After Poaching 18 Gray Wolves & Several Bald Eagles appeared first on World Animal News.

Source link

Australia’s Marine Life Death Toll Continues To Rise With Shocking Data Released About New South Wales Shark Net Problem

Annual data just released on the deaths of iconic marine life in New South Wales reveals shark nets as the cause of many species becoming entangled including dolphins and turtles. The data is from two leading marine conservation groups, Humane Society International (HSI) and the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS). A total of 480 animals were caught in 51 shark nets in the past year (September to April), of which a shocking 284 sharks, dolphins, turtles, and rays were killed in the nets, according to data published on July 31st by the Department of Primary Industries.

HSI/Australia and AMCS are calling for the Berejiklian Government to end the NSW Shark Meshing Program, particularly as shark nets don’t reduce the risk of unprovoked shark interactions. Many threatened and protected species were caught in the nets, including: 7 dolphins, 10 turtles, and 31 critically endangered grey nurse sharks. 

“NSW DPI has made great progress in developing a suite of effective tools to manage the inherently low risk of shark bites, including drone surveillance, personal shark deterrents, and education—all of which are much more effective at protecting ocean users than nets,” said Lawrence Chlebeck, Marine Campaigner with HSI/Australia in an email sent to WAN. “This includes the recent commitment to expand drone surveillance across additional NSW beaches. All of this is building to an end to shark nets, and this new wildlife death tally should surely be the last straw for the NSW Government.”

Shark nets are a relic of the past having been introduced in the 1930s when little was known about shark behaviour and their importance in the ecosystem. The truth is that shark nets don’t make swimmers safer and they take a terrible toll on marine life—costing the lives of turtles, dolphins, sharks, and rays. It is high time the NSW Government consigns shark nets to the history books where they belong,” continued Chlebeck.

“The only guarantee we have from these nets, are the drownings of iconic wildlife like dolphins and turtles. For over 80 years in NSW, tens of thousands of animals have drowned at netted beaches,” said Dr. Leonardo Guida, shark scientist at the AMCS. “Shark nets were removed along the North Coast of NSW because the local communities opposed the unacceptable wildlife death toll. Newcastle, Sydney, and Wollongong need to do the same. We ask the NSW Government to continue their progress and bring an end to the nets. This must be the last meshing season.”

The NSW Shark meshing program runs annually from September 1st to April 30 from Newcastle to Wollongong. Of the 395 animals reported caught in the nets during the 2018-2019 period, 372 were non-target species and 179 were either threatened or protected under NSW or Federal law, or listed on international threatened species lists.

Even those animals released alive are not guaranteed survival as the stress and injury of entanglement can cause death soon after.

Originally meant as a means to “fish-down” shark populations, the nets are culling devices. Contrary to popular belief, reducing shark populations does not reduce the already small risk of shark bites, as recently confirmed in HSI vs GBRMPA and QDAF at the Queensland Administrative Appeals Tribunal. In its decision, the Tribunal stated “the lethal component of the Shark Control Program does not reduce the risk of unprovoked shark interactions. The scientific evidence before us is overwhelming in this regard.”

The post Australia’s Marine Life Death Toll Continues To Rise With Shocking Data Released About New South Wales Shark Net Problem appeared first on World Animal News.

Source link