In defiance of a global moratorium on commercial whaling, Norway has again issued an annual kill quota of 1,278 minke whales for their barbaric 2021 whaling season.
On Friday, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, Norway’s Minister of Fisheries, announced the quota, which remains unchanged from last year. Ingebrigtsen said he hopes the “upward trend in demand for whale meat will continue.” Sickening! Echoing Ingebrigtsen’s sentiment, the whaling industry also claims that demand for whale meat has improved, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, a recent survey commissioned by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and others found that only 4% of Norwegians polled admitted to eating whale meat “often,” while two-thirds either have never eaten it or only did so “a long time ago.”
Norway’s 2020 whaling season ran from April 1st to September 30th. Slightly more than 500 whales were killed, compared to 429 in 2019. This is the highest total since 2016, when nearly 600 whales were killed. Sixteen whaling vessels requested a permit to hunt whales last year, but only 13 participated.
Last spring, the Norwegian Fisheries Directorate relaxed a number of whaling regulations to encourage additional vessels to participate in whaling. AWI joined with a number of other organizations in contesting the agency’s plan, but to no avail. The government also permitted whalers to forego qualifying tests for rifle shooting.
“Allowing whalers to skip these necessary tests is unacceptable, and could have serious repercussions for animal welfare,” Kate O’Connell, AWI’s marine animal consultant, said in a statement. “Each year, dozens of whales who are shot by grenade-tipped harpoons do not die instantly; they must be shot by rifles to end their suffering.”
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) imposed a global moratorium on commercial whaling in 1982, yet Norway formally objected and resumed commercial whaling 11 years later. Since that time, the country has killed more than 14,000 minke whales.
In December, the Vestvågøy Fishing Association requested that the Norwegian government support the whaling industry in order to “make it more attractive to catch whales,” including offering whalers an increased cod quota.
Norway and other countries that continue these brutal and senseless hunts must catch up to the rest of the world and put an end to the archaic and cruel whaling industry for good!
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg
The post Breaking! Norway Plans To Slaughter More Than 1,200 Minke Whales During Their Gruesome 2021 Whale Hunting Season appeared first on World Animal News.
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.
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.
Photos by: Sea Shepherd
Animal activists from around the world are mourning the death of hundreds of whales and dolphins after the Faroe Islands’ horrific whale hunting “tradition” continued last month.
Many had hoped for this year’s whaling season to be cancelled due to the pandemic, but sadly, it was given the go ahead by fishing ministry Jacob Vestergaard on July 7th.
Fishermen used vessels to herd the whales and dolphins into the bay off Hvalba, a village on the island of Suduroy, where 252 long-finned pilot whales and 35 Atlantic White-sided dolphins were brutally killed with spears.
Sea Shepherd has long condemned this “barbarous practice,” while demanding an end to the Faroe Islands’ outdated whale hunting season.
Every year, up to 1,000 migrating pilot whales and other dolphins are hunted and brutally killed in the Danish protectorate of the Faroe Islands. Sea Shepherd has led opposition to the grindadráp since the 1980s, saving the lives of hundreds of pilot whales and bringing global attention to the ongoing slaughters.
A total of 28 Sea Shepherd volunteers have been arrested for interfering against the grindadráp, many of whom were subsequently deported for the “crime” of defending pilot whales.
Although Sea Shepherd was able to successfully disrupt the whale hunting season in 2014, the organization was hit with legislation that allowed Danish military to keep the NGO outside Faroese waters.
ORCA, another animal rights organization based out of California, posted on twitter, “To the beautiful family of pilot whales that were brutally murdered in the Danish #FaroeIslands, we are so deeply sorry….We will keep fighting to end this insane blood sport. RIP Beautiful family.” The organization also urged people to “Please Boycott the Faroe Islands!”
Please sign this Care2 petition to help put an END to this sick and horrifying tradition once and for all! SIGN HERE!
The post Hundreds Of Whales Brutally Slaughtered In The Faroe Islands During Sickening Whale Hunting Season; This Must End! appeared first on World Animal News.