By Patrick Ramage, Director – Marine Conservation, International Fund for Animal Welfare This World Whale Day, as whale-huggers and marine conservationists from Maui to Monterey, Monaco to Mombasa measure recent progress, there is much to celebrate. As we assess prospects for actually “saving the whales” in the 21st century, there is also much cause for […]Continue Reading 265 words
As the LA Times recently reported, this year, an administrative trial in Washington state could dictate whether the Makah tribe can resume hunting gray whales. The Makah, who live in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula have asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for a waiver from the Marine Mammal Protection Act so they can restart their […]Continue Reading 571 words
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) held a workshop this week with the goal of advancing the use of new technologies such as electronic monitoring and electronic reporting in order to better and more safely monitor and manage U.S. fisheries — which will significantly help to manage fisheries in the face of climate change. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of Senators passed out of committee several pro-conservation bills.Continue Reading 528 words
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A federal court in Washington, D.C. handed the highly endangered North Atlantic Right Whale a leviathan victory ruling that the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision to open up two areas amounting to 3,000 square miles off the New England coast to gillnet fishing violated the Endangered Species Act. The Court restored the previous prohibition on the use of gillnets by fishermen in the whales’ critical habitat.
Why This Matters: There are only 400 North Atlantic Right Whales remaining and 30 have died as a result of ship strikes and gear entanglements since 2017. In recent years, the areas that the government re-opened to fishing have become increasingly important as gathering and feeding spots for right whales, with up to a quarter of the population spotted in these areas during some seasons of the year.Continue Reading 466 words
A new report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) quantifies the significant benefits of whale conservation and the results are surprising — they estimate that, if whales were allowed to return to their pre-whaling numbers it would result in the capture of 1.7 billion tons of CO2 annually.
Why This Matters: The Bottom Line: “Enhancing protection of whales from human-made dangers would deliver benefits to ourselves, the planet, and of course, the whales themselves.”
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Last week Virgin Group founder Richard Branson announced in a blog post that Virgin Holidays will end the sales and promotion of tourism attractions that involve captive cetaceans, such as whales and dolphins. Branson stated that “We felt strongly this was the right thing to do and we knew most of our customers supported it, […]Continue Reading 405 words
On Tuesday, according to the Brunswick News, about dozens of short-fin pilot whales emerged in the surf close to shore on St. Simons Island, Georgia and repeatedly attempted to beach themselves, as local citizens and then marine mammal stranding experts pushed them back in the water.Continue Reading 504 words
According to the Associated Press, Japanese whaling vessels returned to port with two minke whales last week — this is the first time Japan’s ships conducted a commercial hunt since an international moratorium on commercial whaling went into effect in the 1980s, joining the Norway and Iceland in defying the global ban on selling whale meat. Japan had announced recently that they are leaving the International Whaling Commission, and will be resuming commercial whaling, but ending “research whaling,” which was always believed by international whale conservation organizations to be a ruse.Continue Reading 686 words
Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have recorded for the first time ever the “singing” by a rare and endangered North Pacific Right Whale. Humpback whales are known for their songs, but no one has ever before recorded right whales of any type singing. The government scientists heard four distinct songs over […]Continue Reading 163 words
Whale watching is one of the fastest growing tourist activities in Japan, which is a marked shift in the way the Japanese people think of whales — as something to observe in the water rather than on a dinner plate. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (ifaw), has been keeping track and found that from 2008-2015, the last year for which ifaw had statistics, the number of whale watchers in Japan each year increased by more than 40,000, and most of these tourists are from Japan rather than foreigners who are visiting.Continue Reading 424 words
- endangered species
- gray whales
- International Fund for Animal Welfare
- North Atlantic Right Whale
Due to spikes in whale mortality on both coasts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is stepping up its efforts to tackle one of the leading causes of death — whale entanglement in fishing lines and nets.Continue Reading 537 words
The Pacific Coast of Northern California is finding a new sort of climate refugee washing up on its shores and inhabiting its bays and coastal waters — species that have shifted their migratory patterns and habitat due to warming ocean waters throughout the Pacific.Continue Reading 507 words