Tag: Sea

Breaking! Massive Oil Spill Off The Coast Of Israel Wreaks Havoc Covering Sea Turtles In Thick Tar; Rescue & Cleanup Efforts Are Underway

Photos by: Yaniv Levi, Shlomi Amran, Shlomi Ben Shimol, and Nadi Kansky from Israel Sea Turtle Rescue Center, Facebook

Israel is in an urgent race to save wildlife after an oil tanker leaked in the Mediterranean Sea. This is Israel’s most serious ecological disaster in recent years.

As per a statement from Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, sticky, black tar began washing up and contaminating the beaches last Wednesday, as a result of the stormy weather. It is feared that another storm with high waves will begin this week.

Thousands of trained volunteers across Israel are helping with beach restoration efforts, which include rescuing marine animals. Israel Sea Turtle Rescue Center confirmed in a post on its Facebook page that it is treating multiple turtles covered in tar.

The organization, which is affiliated with Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority and the Israel Nature and Heritage Foundation (INHF), is urging the public to immediately report any sea turtle found “alive or dead” to its 3639 hotline.

“Live turtles must come to treatment at the rescue center as soon as possible, while the dead turtles are important to document, so that we learn the scope of the disaster,” the wildlife sanctuary shared in the post.

Sadly, out of 190km of beach in Israel, 170km were hit by the oil spill, from Rosh Hanikra to Zikim. The nature reserves affected include: Shakmona, Habonim, Rosh Hanikra, Tel Dor, Palmachim, Nitzanim, Zik Gedor, Hasharon Beach.

As noted by the Nature and Parks Authority on its Facebook page, field assessments report that it is evident that these complex and strenuous operations will be required to continue over a long period of time. The Authority is working with EcoOcean and other organizations that are involved in the clean-up and are setting up information and volunteer stations at several centers along the beach.

If you are currently in Israel and would like to volunteer to help in the cleanup efforts, please find more information HERE!

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

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Breaking! Compassionate City In New Zealand Closes Busy Road To Protect An Endangered Nesting Sea Lion & Her Pup

A city in South Island, New Zealand, is closing a busy road for a month to allow an endangered sea lion to nest safely with her pup.The heartwarming news was recently shared by the Dunedin City Council.

“We’ve closed John Wilson Ocean Drive to vehicles for the next month to allow some special residents to use the road safely. A New Zealand sea lion and her pup have taken up residence at the golf course next door and are regularly crossing the road to get to the beach,” the Dunedin City Council noted in a post on its Facebook page.

While people are still able to visit the area by foot or bicycle, they must stay at least 20m away from the New Zealand sea lions which are endangered, and one of the world’s rarest species of sea lions on earth. The Dunedin City Council also advised people walking their dogs in the area to keep them on a leash.

According to the New Zealand Department of Conservation, there are only an estimated 12,000 New Zealand sea lions left. Sadly, their main breeding population remains in decline due to numerous threats including: fisheries interactions, pup mortality, diseases, and food availability. Human impacts also threaten the sea lions. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourists often encroached on the sea lions beach habitat for selfies and photographs.

A Threat Management Plan which was published in 2017 aims to stop the decline of the New Zealand sea lion population within five years and ensure the population is stable or increasing within 20 years. It is an offense of the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 to disturb, harass, harm, injure or kill a New Zealand sea lion. Under local law, anyone who kills a sea lion could receive up to two years in prison or a fine of up to $250,000 in New Zealand which equates to $178,000 in the United States.

Local residents are applauding the Dunedin City Council’s decision to protect the sea lions, with many wanting the temporary closure to become permanent.

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

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Sea Shepherd Carries Out Critical Operation Retrieving Ghost Nets To Save Less Than 10 Vaquita Remaining In The Wild; The World’s Most Endangered Marine Mammal

Last week marked the completion of a collaborative effort aimed at removing abandoned fishing gear from the habitat of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise.

The program, which is funded by the Government of Mexico, has been operating since 2016. Every year, a group of small-scale fishers from the community of San Felipe in the Upper Gulf of California undertakes seasonal ghost net removal operations in the Vaquita Refuge. Sea Shepherd provides support by recovering the nets located by the fishers, ensuring that they never find their way back into the marine ecosystem.

“Ghost nets” are abandoned fishing nets that have been discarded or lost at sea. These inactive nets pose a deadly threat by continuing to kill marine wildlife for as long as the nets remain in the ocean. Whales, turtles, dolphins, and vaquitas are all vulnerable to entanglement in these ​deserted nets.

A group of 35 local fishers, working from 17 small boats, systematically search the Vaquita Refuge in a grid pattern to locate discarded fishing gear. Following GPS coordinates, the boats drag modified hooks under the water to detect submerged nets. As the vessels move over the nets, the hooks become entangled in the fishing gear. Once a net is detected, the fishermen mark the area, and Sea Shepherd’s Sharpie moves in to retrieve the gear.

This season, the operation successfully retrieved 20 nets from the Vaquita Refuge between September 12th and October 31st, 2020.

“There are many more nets in the water than vaquitas,” said Andrea Bonilla, Sea Shepherd’s Ghost Net Project Coordinator in a statement.

Scientists estimate that only 6-19 vaquitas remain in the wild, and the primary threat to the survival of the critically endangered species is entanglement in fishing gear. The rare species of porpoise is endemic to the Upper Gulf of California, an area rife with poaching due to the illegal totoaba trade.

The Vaquita Refuge is a UNESCO-recognized and federally-protected area in which gillnet fishing is banned.

Sea Shepherd’s Sharpie remains in the Vaquita Refuge upon completion of this operation and is working with Mexican authorities to monitor the area, prevent poaching, and remove both active gillnets and ghost nets from the region.

“The last days of the Ghost Net Project turned up no nets, which means that the area has been effectively cleared of these abandoned, invisible curtains of death,” said Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd’s Director of Campaigns. “Thanks to the work of local fishermen, the Museo de la Ballena and Sharpie crew, we are starting Operation Milagro VII with a blank slate, ready to confiscate any new illegal fishing gear set to target the totoaba – and indirectly, the vaquita.”

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California State Officials Approve Regulations To Reduce Endangered Whale and Sea Turtle Entanglements In Crab Gear Off The Coast

California state officials have released a final rule to reduce the risk of endangered whale and sea turtle entanglement in commercial Dungeness crab gear. The new regulations, which went into effect on November 1, were prompted by steep annual increases in reported whale entanglements and a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity.

“It’s good to see California finally taking whale entanglements seriously,” said Kristen Monsell, the Center’s oceans legal director, in a statement. “This new system should reduce the risk crab gear poses to whales and sea turtles. But we’re disappointed that officials didn’t do more to encourage a conversion to ropeless gear, which is the only way to truly eliminate the threat of entanglement for these ocean animals.”

Entanglements in the thick ropes that are connected to heavy commercial Dungeness crab traps injure and kill whales and sea turtles. The ropes cut into the animals’ flesh, sap their strength and lead to drowning. Each entanglement of a humpback whale, blue whale or leatherback sea turtle, besides causing needless suffering and loss of life, violates the federal Endangered Species Act.

The state’s new “Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program” evaluates the likely presence of whales and sea turtles, among other factors, to determine if mitigation measures, such as shortening the season or closing an area to crab gear, are needed to reduce the risk of entanglements. The new rule also allows ropeless gear to be used during a closure occurring on or after April 1, but not during other parts of the season, as the Center has called for to better incentivize its adoption.

A lawsuit filed in 2017 by the Center led to an agreement last year with the state and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association that ended the last two crab seasons early to avoid the spring whale migration and required adoption of new regulations to prevent entanglements before the new crab season begins later this month.

The National Marine Fisheries Service confirmed 26 whale entanglements off the West Coast in 2019, three of which involved California commercial Dungeness crab gear and 15 of which could not be pegged to a particular fishery. Of the 26 confirmed whale entanglements, 17 were humpback whales, eight were gray whales and one was a minke whale. An endangered leatherback sea turtle was also found dead and entangled in rock crab gear.

The Center filed its lawsuit after whale entanglements off California’s coast broke records for three straight years, peaking with 66 reported entanglements in 2016. Of the 29 cases where the gear could be identified, 22 were commercial Dungeness crab gear from California.

In November 2018, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced it would seek federal permits for allowing its crab fishery to harm endangered whales and sea turtles. The RAMP rulemaking is part of the process for obtaining that federal authorization.

The post California State Officials Approve Regulations To Reduce Endangered Whale and Sea Turtle Entanglements In Crab Gear Off The Coast appeared first on World Animal News.

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Breaking! 351 Sea Turtles Found Dead Off The Coast Of Baja California Where 137 Sea Lions Perished Last Week

Photo by: Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental 

Environmental groups recently announced that a total of 351 loggerhead sea turtles have been found dead so far this year in the same area of Baja California coastline where authorities also found 137 dead, beached sea lions last week.

The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) recorded 351 dead loggerhead turtles on San Lázaro beach in Baja California Sur. In addition, stranded sea lions have been found at the site.

In accordance with the provisions of the fishing refuge regulation, it is established that the allowable limit of turtles per year is 90 total. If this yellow turtle mortality limit is reached, commercial fishing with gillnets, falsework or longlines must be suspended for the rest of the year.

Given the situation, Centro Mexicano de Derecho Ambiental together with the Center for Biological Diversity, are asking Mexico’s National Aquaculture and Fishing Commission (Conapesca) to comply with the fishing refuge provisions that they have established. The organizations are also asking PROFEPA to be transparent during the investigation into the sea turtle deaths.

The mortality of marine wildlife is not new in the area. Since last year, 331 loggerhead turtles, 10 dolphins, 15 sea lions, 131 black sea turtles, 18 olive ridley turtles, and 6 whales were found dead. According to information obtained through La Plataforma Nacional de Transparencia (the National Transparency Platform), in 2018, 459 loggerhead turtles and 97 black turtles were also found dead.

“We are concerned that the loggerhead turtle mortality in the Gulf of Ulloa is worsening and that the environmental authorities continue to fail to enforce the applicable regulation,” said Mario Sánchez, Director of CEMDA’s Northwest regional office, in a statement. “The finding of the 137 sea lions killed last week is evidence of the serious situation facing marine species in this area. It is urgent that the Federal Government address this problem, strengthening the capacity of environmental and fisheries institutions, allocating an adequate budget.”

“In the case of loggerhead turtles, they have been victims of fishing nets,” said Alejandro Olivera, a Center for Biological Diversity representative in Mexico. According to the rules of the fishing refuge, Conapesca should have a program of technical assistants and scientific observers on board the fisheries, which would have better information on the deaths of these marine species.

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

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Breaking! 42 People & More Than 5,800 Cows Reportedly Perished During Live Transport In The East China Sea

Another tragic case in the transport of live animals overseas. A ship carrying 43 crew members and more than 5,800 cows reportedly capsized after sending a distress signal from an area affected by Typhoon Maysak in the East China Sea.

Sadly, only one person from the ship which departed Napier, New Zealand, on August 14th has been rescued, all cows have perished.

As previously reported by WAN, more than 14,000 sheep drowned off the coast of Romania last year.

“These cows should never have been at sea. To make matters worse they’re likely all pregnant,” said SAFE For Animals Campaigns Manager, Marianne Macdonal, in a statement. “This is a real crisis, and our thoughts are with the families of the 43 crew members who are missing with the ship. But questions remain, including why this trade is allowed to continue.”

As per the organization’s Facebook page, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has “temporarily” suspended live cattle exports in the wake of the devastating news.

That is not enough. The cruel trade which puts live animals at risk must end, period.

Urge The Prime Minister Of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, who has delayed his review of live animal export, to finally put an end to this barbaric trade HERE!

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