Gray Whales Need a Hand to #StopTheNets

Today is #WhaleWednesday and the goal of the day is to raise awareness about the plight of endangered gray whales that are being killed due to entanglement in fishing nets intended for swordfish that are illegal everywhere else except off the coast of California. At least 121 gray whales died off the West Coast this past summer and that was the second-worst year on record for gray whale deaths.

Why This Matters:  The gillnets that entangle whales, turtles and dolphins were set to be outlawed but in June of 2017 but the Trump Administration abruptly pulled the proposed rule banning them because NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) determined the cost to the commercial fishing industry outweighed conservation benefits.  The State of California will phase out those gillnets if $1 million of nonstate funds are raised to match the $1 million allocated by the state legislature, but those funds are not raised yet.

Gray Whales In Trouble

USA Today reported last month on the unusual mortality event of gray whales this year:

  • “The dead giants of the ocean washed up on West Coast beaches as they finished their annual epic migration to their winter feeding grounds between Alaska and Russia.”
  • “Many were emaciated and appeared to be starving.”
  • “Gray whales were hunted almost to extinction in the late 1800s. The 121 that died this year could represent as much as 10% of the species’ total population.”
  • “Only once before – in 2000 – have scientists seen a larger number of these marine mammals die during their long migration. That year, 131 of the whales washed up on shores from California to Alaska.”

What You Can DoSign this petition to outlaw the nets that kill marine wildlife.  And donate here to help raise the $1 million needed.  Or buy Gray Whale Gin – the company will donate 1% of all sales to the GoFundMe campaign to raise the money to match the state of California.

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