Tag: Whales

Breaking! Norway Plans To Slaughter More Than 1,200 Minke Whales During Their Gruesome 2021 Whale Hunting Season

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

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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.

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Breaking! Mass Stranding In New Zealand Results In The Tragic Loss Of 97 Pilot Whales & 3 Dolphins

Photo by: Biodiversity Ranger Jemma Welch, New Zealand Department of Conservation

The New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) reported the tragic news last week that 97 pilot whales and three dolphins died in a mass stranding on a remote Chatham Island beach.

After DOC Biodiversity Ranger Jemma Welch was notified about the stranding at 12:00pm last Sunday, she explained that due to the remote location and a power outage making it difficult to contact people, it was 3:00pm by the time rangers arrived at the scene at Waitangi West Beach.

“Only 26 of the whales were still alive at this point, the majority of them appeared very weak, and were sadly euthanized due to the rough conditions of the sea, and almost certainty because of great white sharks in the water which are brought in by a stranding like this,” Welch said in a statement.

Sadly, two more whales had stranded by Monday morning and had to be euthanized when a team of DOC staff made a follow-up visit to the site.

Hokotehi Moriori Trust and Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri Iwi Trust were notified and representatives joined DOC staff on Sunday where they performed a Karakia ceremony to honor the spirit of the whales.

“Bad weather and rough seas, with dirty water, reduced visibility, and sonar effectiveness, could confuse whales and dolphins,” the DOC explains on its website. “Mistakes while chasing prey in shallow waters are thought to be a major cause of strandings for orcas and dolphins. Conversely, large predators such as orcas might cause other marine mammals to panic and strand.”

The largest recorded mass stranding in New Zealand was in 1918 when an estimated 651,000 pilot whales stranded on the Chatham Islands.

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

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Breaking! U.S. Senate Increases Funding For The Protection Of Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales By $2 Million Dollars

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Breaking! Seismic Blasting Halted In Atlantic Ocean Giving Hope To Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

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NOAA Fisheries Approves A Permit To Import 5 Beluga Whales Into The U.S. But Imposes Strong Restrictions On Breeding, Public Interaction & Training For Performances

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) is among many other animal and environmental protection groups applauding the decision by the Department of Commerce to prohibit Mystic Aquarium from breeding five captive-born beluga whales from Canada as part of an import permit issued Friday. The permit also precludes Mystic from training the whales for performances.

Marjorie Fishman of AWI explained to WAN the significance of the decision, as this is the first time the federal government has placed restrictions on breeding captive mammals under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

As previously reported by WAN, the Connecticut Aquarium applied for a permit last year to import the belugas from Marineland Canada, a oceanarium/amusement park in Niagara Falls for the purpose of scientific research. Among other research projects, Mystic proposed behavioral and reproduction studies, including breeding and research on pregnant females and their progeny, raising concerns that the real purpose of the import was to perpetuate the captive beluga population for public display in the United States.

Moreover, under a partnership between Mystic and Georgia Aquarium, three of the whales could eventually be transferred to Atlanta. The conditions of the permit clarify that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) must approve any decision to transfer the animals to another state.

In issuing the permit, NMFS authorized seven of Mystic’s eight research projects; it did not authorize the study related to reproduction. The permit conditions prohibit the aquariums from breeding the whales, using them in public interactive programs, such as for photo opportunities, or training them for performance.

The permit restrictions come after a group of animal and environmental protection organizations submitted comments in December of last year opposing the permit, outlining their substantive legal and policy objections under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. These groups urged the inclusion of the no-breeding and no-performance clauses in a permit if one was issued, as well as the clarification that the National Marine Fisheries Service, not the permit holder, make any decisions regarding the disposition of the whales.

NMFS’s decision is indicative of a broader global movement in recent years to end the unsustainable and inhumane cetacean trade and public display. The 2013 documentary “Blackfish” had an enormous impact on the public’s view of captive orcas. That same year, NMFS denied a request by Georgia Aquarium to import wild-caught Russian belugas for public display. In 2016, SeaWorld ended orca breeding at its parks, and, last year, Canada passed a law to phase out the keeping of cetaceans in captivity in the country.

“This latest decision marks another step on the path to phasing out cetacean captivity, an industry built on immense animal suffering,” Dr. Naomi Rose, AWI’s marine mammal scientist, shared in a statement sent to WAN.

Before Mystic can import the belugas, the facility must provide NMFS with a detailed contraception plan to prevent breeding, and Canada must issue a permit to export the whales from Marineland.

Canada is currently developing regulatory procedures for issuing export permits for captive cetaceans under its new law and is calling for public submissions; animal advocates support strong and clear requirements in such permits to prohibit breeding and performances. Many countries do not have comparable laws to the MMPA, and Canada must ensure that any captive cetaceans exported from the country continue to be covered by Canada’s powerful legislative protections.

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

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Captive Beluga Whales Named Little White & Little Grey Have Been Rescued From A Russian Research Center & Released To An Open Water Sanctuary In Iceland

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Hundreds Of Whales Brutally Slaughtered In The Faroe Islands During Sickening Whale Hunting Season; This Must End!

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.

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U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Amendment Increasing Funding By $1.5 Million For The Protection Of Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives approved an amendment to the fiscal year 2021 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill, increasing funding for monitoring and researching the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale by $1.5 million.

The additional funds will also help develop and test new anti-entanglement technologies, like ropeless fishing gear.

This is especially critical following the announcement earlier this month that the North Atlantic right whale was moved from Endangered to Critically Endangered on the recently updated IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The amendment, co-sponsored by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Rep. Golden (D-Maine), Rep. Rutherford (R-Fla.), and Rep. Posey (R-Fla.), increases total funding for the right whale to $6.5 million.

“Forty-one right whales since 2017 have died or been critically injured. That represents 10% of all the right whales we have left on planet Earth. We can choose to act and be the generation that brings this species back from the brink,  or, the one that stands by as it goes extinct,” Rep. Moulton shared in a post on his Facebook page. “I’m choosing action through the SAVE Right Whales Act and an amendment to increase funding for right whale research.”

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whale species. Fewer than 400 survive today, with only 95 females of breeding age. Once hunted by generations of European and New England whalers, the North Atlantic right whale continues to face human-caused dangers along the eastern seaboard of Canada and the United States.

“We are grateful that representatives on both sides of the aisle and from across our nation recognize the North Atlantic right whale’s dire situation and are responding with action. However, funding is only half the battle,” Jane Davenport, senior attorney at Defenders of Wildlife, said in a statement. “We urge Congress to pass the SAVE Right Whales Act, allowing the government, fishing and shipping industries, and nongovernmental organizations to organize and protect the right whale from extinction.”

Even when entanglements are not fatal, they often maim whales or prevent them from building adequate fat stores, limiting females’ ability to birth calves.

Females and calves are also uniquely vulnerable to vessel strikes. Out of 10 right whale calves born in the 2019-20 calving season, two have already been killed by vessel strikes and their mothers have not been resighted since.

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

The post U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Amendment Increasing Funding By $1.5 Million For The Protection Of Critically Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales appeared first on World Animal News.

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