Celebrities Get Naked for Fish

Finally, these celebrities get naked for fish

Do you love fish as Helena Bonham Carter does?

Helena Bonham Carter

That’s not Photoshop. That is HBC in the buff, cradling a bigeye tuna.

And she wants you to know how serious she is about this love:

Helena Bonham Carter

The photo is part of a British campaign called Fishlove, behold Dumbledore coyly peeking out from behind a pufferfish!

Fishlove is produced by Nicholas Röhl, co-owner of Japanese restaurant MOSHIMO, based in Brighton, UK
©Alan Gelati/Fishlove

Fishlove is produced by Nicholas Röhl, co-owner of Japanese restaurant MOSHIMO, based in Brighton, UK

British-Indian movie star Ayesha Dharker loves moray eels as much as she loves that fat baby. 
©Alan Gelati/Fishlove
Fishlove is produced by Nicholas Röhl, co-owner of Japanese restaurant MOSHIMO, based in Brighton, UK
Sir Ben Kingsley is alarmed by — and concerned about — the deflated cephalopod he finds in his hands. 
©Rankin/Fishlove
Fishlove is produced by Nicholas Röhl, co-owner of Japanese restaurant MOSHIMO, based in Brighton, UK
Emmy-award winner Greta Scacchi hopes to cod someone will save the oceans. 
©Rankin/Fishlove
Fishlove is produced by Nicholas Röhl, co-owner of Japanese restaurant MOSHIMO, based in Brighton, UK
Actor Trevor Laird has appeared on Doctor Who, but may go down in history for appearing underneath this sailfish. 
©Alan Gelati/Fishlove
Fishlove is produced by Nicholas Röhl, co-owner of Japanese restaurant MOSHIMO, based in Brighton, UK
Lily Loveless made her debut in British TV show Skins, now makes serious dermal contact with an octopus. 
©Rankin/Fishlove

For the rest of these sea stars, check out the galleries (and the campaign) here.

Coast Guard Cutter Alert rescues sea turtles

February 26, 2015

http://www.dailyastorian.com/Local_News/20150226/coast-guard-cutter-alert-rescues-sea-turtles?utm_source=Daily+Astorian+Updates&utm_campaign=db4b48ca58-TEMPLATE_Daily_Astorian_Newsletter_Update&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e787c9ed3c-db4b48ca58-109860249

Submitted
Alert’s rescue diver, Seaman Brandon Groshens, cuts away the netting to free the sea turtles.

The second sea turtle swims away unharmed after being freed from the netting by SN Brandon Groshens.

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The Alert, a Coast Guard cutter homeported in Astoria, encountered the struggling turtles while on patrol Feb. 10 in the eastern Pacific

Two sea turtles caught in fishing net were freed earlier this month by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer.

The Alert, a Coast Guard cutter homeported in Astoria, encountered the struggling turtles while on patrol Feb. 10 in the eastern Pacific, according to a statement from the guard.

The cutter’s bridge watch team flagged plastic containers used as buoys floating in the water and then saw the two entangled turtles.

“Jumping into the ocean to free a couple of sea turtles is not something you wake up in the morning expecting to do” Seaman Brandon Groshens, Pendleton, said in a statement. “It was a really great feeling as they swam away, knowing that we just saved their lives.”

Commander Brian Anderson, the Alert’s commanding officer, said he was “especially proud of my diligent watch standers, and how the crew quickly came together in performing their good deed for the day.”

Whales, fed up with being fished, take revenge on fishermen

BBC.com

what a moby dick

Whales, fed up with being fished, take revenge on fishermen

http://grist.org/list/whales-fed-up-with-being-fished-take-revenge-on-fishermen/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Weekly%2520Feb%252010&utm_campaign=weekly

Humans! For centuries you hunted my kind, stabbed us with your little toothpicks, stripped us of our tasty, tasty blubber, and then, probably, danced merry jigs on our corpses. In an act of true hubris, you even wrote it all down.

Well, joke’s on you, because we’re smart fuckers and now we’re getting our revenge — best served cold-as-Arctic-waters, where sperm whales have learned to strip the fish right off of fishermen’s lines. From the BBC:

This giant animal’s deft trick was filmed for the first time by a group of scientists based in Alaska … It shows a sperm whale using its long jaw to create tension on the line, which in turn snaps fish off the hooks. This feeding behaviour is called depredation and experts think it is learned by the whales.

“I don’t know how to quantify their intelligence but their effectiveness is almost perfect,” says Stephen Rhoads, a boat skipper who has been fishing in the area for 20 years.

Damn straight it is. You think we’d bother to dive and catch our own fish when you are basically unspooling miles of free buffet each time you let out all that longline? In short: You trippin’, particularly if you think we are leaving you with any black cod (our fave!).

The scientists hope to eventually tag 10 individuals – known as the ‘bad boys’ – who are seen around boats most often. One of the most regular visitors has even earned the name Jack the Stripper after being seen nine out of the last 10 years in the same part of the Gulf.

‘Strips’ to his friends — but fishermen, it should go without saying, are not his friends.

120 sperm whales have been observed, all of which are male, scientists estimate there may be 235 in total. Up to 10 whales have been seen around fishing boats, which is unusual as adult males usually hunt on their own and could also point towards depredation being socially transmitted between whales.

They also discovered that the whales, who hunt using echolocation, are alerted to the fact fishing is taking place by the sound of boat engines shifting gear as the crew haul in the catch, this can be detected from several miles away.

Maybe if you humans weren’t so effing loud, we’d leave some cod for you. (Ha! Just kidding.) But no — you have to stomp all over the place, broadcasting your wretched presence.

“Now the tables have turned, whaling is banned, and sperm whales are returning and learning to take on fishermen in bold and surprising ways – and so far there is very little the fishermen can do about it.

I only have one question left for you pathetic buffoons: You need some ice for that burn? Too bad, because we’re running out of that, too. (And that’s also your fault, morons.)

Sincerely,

A Whale

Indonesian Navy Blows Up Illegal Fishing Ships

Monday, 22 December 2014

Pic:EPAPic:EPATWO foreign fishing boats suspected of conducting illegal fishing activities are blown up by the Indonesian navy in Ambon bay, Indonesia, 21 December 2014.

The destruction of the Papua New Guinea-flagged vessels follows a government ruling to sink almost all foreign ships which carry out illegal fishing activities in the waters of Indonesia.

‘The ships have gone through legal procedures at the court in Ambon and their owners were found guilty of stealing fish from Indonesian waters. We must sink these ships so that other foreign ships will think twice before fishing illegally in our territory,’ said navy spokesman Commodore Manahan Simorangkir.

‘The ships were flying the Papua New Guinean flag but the crew were all Thai,’ Navy Maj. Eko Budimansyah, spokesman for Lantamal IX Naval Base in Ambon, said.

The two vessels carried 63 tonnes of fish and shrimp. 62 crewmen were arrested and several were turned over to immigration. The ships were emptied of fuel before being destroyed to prevent pollution.

The vessels will be the fourth and fifth ships sunk by Indonesia in the three months since President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo took office.

Six more foreign ships are currently facing destruction, pending legal proceedings.

The number of cases of illegal fishing has declined since the hardline stance was taken. Some opponents say the destruction of the boats could cause diplomatic tension with other nations.

Officials with Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency asked that Jakarta observe international protocol that allows its authorities to seize poaching vessels and arrest their crews, but forbids them from opening fire.

Indonesia loses about £15.3bn annually from illegal fishing and there are currently an estimated 5,400 illegal ships operating in the nation’s waters.

- Daily Mail Online http://www.malaysiandigest.com/world/533885-indonesian-navy-blows-up-illegal-fishing-ships.html

HSUS offers $5,000 reward for person who killed dolphin with arrow

NOAA seeks person who killed dolphin with arrow

Posted: Dec 09, 2014 1:22 PM PST &amp;amp;lt;em class=”wnDate”&amp;amp;gt;Tuesday, December 9, 2014 4:22 PM EST&amp;amp;lt;/em&amp;amp;gt;Updated: Dec 09, 2014 2:01 PM PST &amp;amp;lt;em class=”wnDate”&amp;amp;gt;Tuesday, December 9, 2014 5:01 PM EST&amp;amp;lt;/em&amp;amp;gt;

NOAA photo of hunting arrow that was removed from dolphin.NOAA photo of hunting arrow that was removed from dolphin.

NOAA photo of dolphin that had been shot with an arrow.NOAA photo of dolphin that had been shot with an arrow.

NOAA photo of pregnant dolphin that had been shot.NOAA photo of pregnant dolphin that had been shot.

A $5,000 reward is being offered in the disturbing case of a dolphin that washed ashore dead with a hunting arrow protruding from its side.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is investigating the death, which happened over the weekend in Orange Beach, Alabama. The agency says it is the second human-related dolphin death in the Northern Gulf of Mexico since mid November.

NOAA scientists think the dolphin may have survived for at least five days before dying from a secondary infection caused by the wound. The dolphin was shot with a steel-tipped hunting arrow that had a yellow feather on it.

The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering the reward with the hope it will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.

“This intelligent, social creature experienced tremendous suffering from this senseless act. We are grateful for NOAA’s work to investigate this heinous crime and are hoping someone with information will come forward,” said Alabama HSUS Director Mindy Gilbert in a news release.

If you have information about the incident, call NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement in Niceville, FL, at (850) 729-8628 or the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964 as soon as possible. Tips can be left anonymously.

It was the second human-caused death of a dolphin since mid-November. NOAA is investigating the deadly shooting of a pregnant bottlenose dolphin found dead on Miramar Beach.

To report a stranded, injured or sick dolphin, call 1-877-WHALE-HELP (1-877-942-5343)

And From

Though it remains unclear just who the perpetrators of these killings are, there has been speculation that local fishermen — disgruntled by dolphins stealing their bait or catch — may be responsible.

There have, in the past, been instances of fishermen intentionally harming dolphins. In 2009, for example, a man in Panama City, Florida, was sentenced to two years in prison after he was found guilty of making pipe bombs to kill dolphins. Several fishermen have also been slapped with fines in recent years for shooting the animals.

Warm North Pacific Waters Threaten Native Fish, Usher in Unusual Species

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
October 3, 2014

Unusually high water temperatures throughout the North Pacific Ocean have brought concerns from researchers about how it could affect native species of fish as well as sightings of uncommon species.

The three areas of the North Pacific with the most notable warming trend include the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea and an area off the coast of Southern California down to Baja California, Mexico, with temperatures as high as 5 degrees above average.

These sea surface temperature anomalies have remained this way for more than a year, one of the longest stretches on record, according to researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This is a sea surface temperature anomaly map in the North Pacific Ocean. The darker the red, the farther above average the sea surface temperature, according to NOAA. (Photo/NOAA)

The warmer water has prompted questions about how it will impact the marine food web, said Laurie Weitkamp, a research fisheries biologist with NOAA’s Northwest Fishery Science Center in Newport, Oregon.

A big concern for native species of fish, such as salmon, is that the primary food items they eat may no longer be available, Weitkamp said.

Potentially adding further stress to the situation, warm water also increases the metabolic rate of the fish so they have to eat more in warmer water, but there may not be enough to eat because the conditions are not suitable for their food items, Weitkamp said.

RELATED:
Great White Shark Populations Increase in Both Pacific, Atlantic Waters
PHOTOS: Rare Blue Lobster Caught in Maine
Northwest Regional Weather Radar

Nate Mantua, leader of the landscape ecology team at the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, attributes these conditions in the Gulf of Alaska to the same ridge of high pressure that’s believed to have contributed to California’s extreme drought. Storms and winds that commonly cool and stir the sea surface have been quelled by the ridge.

“If the warming persists for the whole summer and fall, some of the critters that do well in a colder, more productive ocean could suffer reduced growth, poor reproductive success and population declines,” Mantua said in a NOAA Fisheries article.

“This has happened to marine mammals, sea birds and Pacific salmon in the past. At the same time, species that do well in warmer conditions may experience increased growth, survival and abundance,” Mantua said.

Another effect likely brought about by the noticeably warmer waters is observations of different species of fish that are not known for frequenting this part of the ocean.

Earlier this past summer, a research vessel found a thresher shark in the Gulf of Alaska, which was the northernmost documented catch of the species, according to Michael Milstein, a spokesman for NOAA Fisheries.

“Thresher sharks are know for preferring warm waters,” Milstein said.

More: http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/warm-north-pacific-waters-threaten-fish/34699318

If only it was a happy Labor Day for all

herring-07

Per Fish Feel:

http://www.FishFeel.orghttps://www.facebook.com/FishFeel.org

On this Labor Day, give a thought to the human slavery which is rampant in the fishing industry (not solely in Thailand). Please don’t support it or the immense animal suffering inherent with fishing.
“There is no official record of how many men are currently entrapped aboard fishing boats, but the Thai government estimates that up to 300,000 people work within its fishing industry, 90% of whom are migrants vulnerable to being tricked, trafficked and sold to the sea. So that probably means most are being held against their will.”

http://www.worldfishing.net/news101/Comment/analysis/slavery-in-fishing

Slavery in fishing

Aug 2014 Thailand is considered a major source and transit area for slavery. Credit: http://www.rubins.org/GFDL The Thailand prawn farming industry has recently received much negative publicity due to its alleged involvement in fishing slavery, reports Bryan Gibson. A six-month investigation by The Guardian newspaper has established that large numbers of men and young boys are being bought and sold like animals and held against their will on the decks of unseaworthy and usually unregistered trash fish trawlers, which specialise in catching small and juvenile fish species for conversion into processed fish meal for Thai prawn farms. Due to their low (or zero) labour cost, this force of entirely unwilling conscripts has become integral to the commercial production of farmed prawns sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including top global retailers such as Tesco, Walmart, Carrefour, Costco, Aldi, Morrisons, the Co-Operative and Iceland. And it might be considered, that with such an array of powerful buyers capable of erring on the side of right, slavery onboard fishing vessels, or forced labour connected anywhere else within a commercial food-chain, ought to have proven an easy problem to fix. One of the largest producers of prawns is Charoen Pokphand, which sells frozen and cooked prawns in the manufacture of ready meals such as prawn curries and stir fry. CP Foods told WF&A that it categorically condemns any form of forced labour and, following the allegations made in The Guardian report, is committed to ensuring that it plays no part in the company’s supply chain. The company immediately initiated a comprehensive investigation into every step of the supply chain, which is ongoing at this time.Pending the outcome of these investigations, CP Foods has suspended purchasing product for its shrimp feed business from all suppliers except those offering internationally certified, 100% by-product based fishmeal, for which they are able to verify the supply chain of all ingredients. Up to 300,000 fishing slaves are forced to work and live permanently aboard Thai ‘trash fish’ trawlers for years at a time under the threat of extreme violence and often murder. Thai ambassador to the US, Vijavat Isarabhakdi told The Guardian, “Thailand is committed to combatting human trafficking. We know a lot more needs to be done but we have also made significant progress to address the problem.” Although the Thai government has told The Guardian that “combating human trafficking is a national priority”, the newspaper’s undercover investigation unearthed a lawless and unregulated industry run by criminals; assisted in no small measure by the Thai maffia as well as government officials and sustained by the brokers who supply cheap migrant labour to boat owners. “The Thai authorities could get rid of the brokers and arrange legitimate employment,” said one high-ranking Thai official tasked with investigating human trafficking cases on condition of anonymity. “As long as boat owners still depend on brokers, and not the government to supply workers, then the problem will never go away.” Release for the enslaved only arrives when the skipper decides that the $450 he paid to the broker has been fully earned or paid-off by relatives and friends. DowngradeAfter being warned for four consecutive years about not doing enough to tackle slavery, the US Department of State has downgraded Thailand to Tier 3 in its 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. The downgrade means Thailand could potentially face sanctions, which might include the withdrawal of US non-humanitarian and non-trade-related assistance. The Guardian conducted interviews with fishermen, boat captains, boat managers, factory owners and Thai officials from fishing ports. Thailand enjoys prime position as the world’s largest prawn exporter within a seafood-export industry estimated to be worth $7.3bn. Via multinational companies such as CP Foods, Thailand exports 500,000 tonnes of prawns annually, nearly 10% of which is farmed by CP Foods. Although slavery is illegal in every country in the world, it is estimated that 21 million men, women and children are enslaved globally, according to the International Labour Organisation. Human rights activists believe that Thailand’s seafood-export industry would collapse without slavery. They say there is little incentive for the Thai government to take a positive stance and have called for consumers and international retailers to demand action. Whenever a population becomes isolated and excluded from the political, commercial or sociological mainstream, it runs the risk of unreasonable and illegal exploitation. Thailand is considered a major source and transit area for slavery, and nearly half a million people are believed to be enslaved within Thailand’s borders. There is no official record of how many men are currently entrapped aboard fishing boats, but the Thai government estimates that up to 300,000 people work within its fishing industry, 90% of whom are migrants vulnerable to being tricked, trafficked and sold to the sea. So that probably means most are being held against their will. Aidan McQuade of Anti Slavery International states, “There are over 5.5 million children in forced labour throughout the world, and if you buy prawns from Thailand, inevitably, you are buying the product of slave labour.” And for any commercial fisherman with a vestige of caring for his fellow mankind and is searching for a new and legitimate catch source, then taking-up the legal, moral and sustainable catching of Atlantic prawns and langoustines anywhere in the upper northern hemisphere, this might be a very good place for him to start. – See more at: http://www.worldfishing.net/news101/Comment/analysis/slavery-in-fishing#sthash.9f9h4MYl.dpuf
 

Vaquita Porpoise Faces Imminent Extinction—Can It Be Saved?

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/08/140813-vaquita-gulf-california-mexico-totoaba-gillnetting-china-baiji/

by Virginia Morell

for National Geographic

Published August 13, 2014

The vaquita, a small porpoise found only in the Gulf of California, is rapidly going extinct, an international team of scientists reported earlier this month.

The researchers say that the marine mammals—whose name means “little cow” in Spanish—are accidentally drowning in the gill nets local fishers deploy for fish and shrimp. A mere 97 vaquitas remain.

Vaquitas are shy creatures, and rarely seen, except when they’re pulled to the surface—dead—in nets. They’ve been known to science only since 1958, when three skulls were found on a beach. At the time, it was thought that they numbered in the low thousands. Scientists and fishers alike say the animals, with their pretty facial markings (“they look like they’re wearing lipstick and mascara,” one scientist said) and sleek bodies, are endearing.

There’s danger now that the porpoises will become the second cetacean (the first was the baiji, or Chinese river dolphin) to succumb to human pressures, most likely disappearing forever by 2018.

“It’s a complete disappointment for everybody, because we’ve all been working hard to turn this around, and the [Mexican] government has addressed this from the highest level possible,” said Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, a cetacean conservation specialist at Mexico’s Commission of Natural Protected Areas and a member of the team.

Indeed, the Mexican government established a presidential commission on vaquita conservation in 2012, when scientists estimated the porpoise’s population at 200.

Map of Gulf of California showing the range of the vaquita porpoise, along with the vaquita reserve, nearby biosphere reserve, and proposed gill-net exclusion zone.
MAGGIE SMITH, NG STAFF. SOURCES: International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita; IUCN; UNEP-WCMC

Failing Measures

To stem the vaquitas’ decline, in 2005 Mexico created a refuge for them, banned all commercial fishing in the refuge’s waters, beefed up enforcement, and invested more than $30 million (U.S.) to compensate fishers and encourage them to switch to other fishing methods.

It also established the international scientific team to monitor the porpoise’s population, reproductive rates, and habitat. Its members hail from such august conservation bodies as the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the International Whaling Commission, the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, and Norway’s Institute of Marine Research.

All were optimistic then. “We thought we were going to see the vaquitas’ numbers increasing by 4 percent a year,” said Barbara Taylor, a marine biologist with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in San Diego, California, and a member of the team. “Instead, they’ve had a catastrophic decline of 18.5 percent per year.”

Chinese Demand—But Not for Vaquitas

That decline, Rojas-Bracho said, is “all due to illegal fishing that is out of control.”

In the past three years, illegal gillnetting for the totoaba, a critically endangered fish that can grow to more than six feet long (1.8 meters) and 300 pounds (136 kilograms), has surged. Unfortunately, the porpoise and the similarly sized totoaba live in the same parts of the gulf.

The totoaba’s swim bladder, highly prized as a traditional health food and medicine in China, can fetch thousands of dollars. Few fishers can resist the temptation.

“It’s like trying to control traffic while someone’s throwing money from the Empire State Building,” said Rojas-Bracho, who learned of the extent of this illegal take from several fishers who are also on the presidential commission.

The team estimates that about 435 miles (700 kilometers) of legal nets are in the water every day during the fishing season, from mid-September to mid-June. “And that’s not counting the illegal nets for the totoaba,” Taylor says.

Last-Ditch Solution

Because of the vaquita’s timid nature (a sighting at 300 feet [90 meters] is considered close), scientists can’t make visual counts of the animals. They rely instead on an array of special acoustic devices, deployed every year before the fishing season begins (they too are easily tangled in the nets), to record the sounds of the animals as they forage in the murky waters they favor. From these sounds, the researchers are able to estimate the vaquitas’ numbers.

Because the animal’s population is so low, the team says there is only one solution: Ban all gillnetting in the gulf’s upper regions, including the waters surrounding the vaquitas’ refuge. The ban must be strictly applied, even to the legal shrimp and fin fish fishery, and enforced with more police patrols on sea and land.

“It’s a hard choice,” Taylor acknowledges. Such a ban will hurt all the fishers, including those who aren’t engaged in the illegal fishery. But, she said, if Mexico doesn’t do that, it “will lose the vaquita.”

Rojas-Bracho said that Mexico, China, and the United States governments also need to work together to control—if not end—the trade in totoaba swim bladders. The dried bladders are often smuggled across the U.S. border before ending up in the Chinese marketplace.

There is a modicum of hope. Even at only 97 animals (25 of them believed to be females of reproductive age), the species can still be saved, Taylor believes. “Most marine mammals, including other cetaceans, that have been taken down through hunting have come back, so it’s not too late. But if nothing is done, they can also go extinct rapidly, as happened with the baiji. They can be gone before you know it.”

The commission will meet again at the end of August to discuss what to do next to save the vaquita.

Virginia Morell is the author of four acclaimed books, including Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures.

Fisherman charged for underwater assault on scuba diver

Jul 31, 2014 http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/26168287/fisherman-charged-for-underwater-assault-on-scuba-diver

 KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) –

Charges have now been filed in the scuba scuffle caught on tape in the waters off Kona.

Hawaii County Prosecutors have charged fisherman Jay Lovell with terroristic threatening in the second degree. He is accused of ripping the regulator out of Rene Umberger’s mouth eliminating her ability to breathe.

Lovell was collecting reef fish last May for the aquarium trade. Umberger is an environmentalist against the practice and says the incident isn’t stopping her from documenting aquarium fishermen.

“Violence is never appropriate but also people who are out there trying to expose and document the destructive practices on the reefs aren’t going to be intimidated by this kind of activity. Stooping to violence only hurts the cause it doesn’t help their cause,” said Rene Umberger, Reef Consultant and Diver.

The incident stirred debate around the country. Umberger says it helped people learn that aquarium fish do not always come from farms and has bolstered support against the trade.

Meanwhile Jay Lovell’s brother says he will fight the charges.

“Jay is actually looking forward to the court so all the facts of the case can actually come out. The fact that these people are targeting the industry, they’ve been threatening for over a year,” said Jim Lovell, Jay’s brother, who is also a reef fisherman. “They provoked us, they caused it, it’s on their table. It’s on their agenda and this is what they want to do.”

Jay Lovell’s court date on the misdemeanor charge is September 2nd.

images

CALL TO ACTION: Oppose the Planned Killing of 16,000 Cormorants Along the Columbia River

http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/2014/07/07/call-to-action-oppose-the-planned-killing-of-16000-cormorants-along-the-columbia-river-1602

Cormorants are being targeted simply because they eat salmonCormorants are being targeted simply
because they eat salmon
Photo: Sea Shepherd
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced plans to shoot thousands of double-crested cormorants in the Columbia River Estuary beginning next year.

Much like California sea lions at the Columbia River, cormorants are being targeted simply because they eat salmon. Federal officials are claiming that these seabirds, protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, eat too many juvenile salmon, as well as steelhead, as the fish migrate through the river estuary to the Pacific Ocean. The proposed cull program would claim the lives of 16,000 cormorants over the course of four years, with killing taking place during the birds’ nesting seasons. Oil will also be spread over cormorant eggs to suffocate the eggs and ensure that they do not hatch. While the Army Corps emphasizes the increase in the East Sand Island double-crested cormorant population in recent years, populations of these birds in general have been declining and the sustainability of this large-scale cull is questionable at best.

Sea Shepherd’s Dam Guardians were on the frontlines along the Columbia River and at the Bonneville Dam in 2012 and 2013, documenting the hazing, trapping and cruel branding of sea lions by the Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish & Wildlife for the “crime” of eating salmon. If any of the branded sea lions are determined to be eating “too many” salmon, they are killed – and the federal government has allowed these states to kill up to 92 federally protected sea lions each year until June 2016. It is important to note that “too many salmon” might constitute just one salmonid. The sea lion cull continues, despite the fact that they consume only 1-4% of the salmon, while fisheries are typically allowed to take 10-12%.

USDA bird hazer sets off explosives at the Bonneville Dam, May 2013USDA bird hazer sets off explosives at the
Bonneville Dam, May 2013
Photo: Sea Shepherd
The Army Corps reports that non-lethal methods – including “hazing with lights, reducing nesting habitat, and using human presence to flush double-crested cormorants off potential nesting sites” – have been tested. Sea Shepherd has documented bird hazers from the USDA harassing cormorants along the river, frightening the birds with explosives.

Just as the taxpayer-funded culling of sea lions at the Bonneville Dam will not solve the problem of a declining salmon population, nor will the shooting and killing of cormorants – set to cost up to $1.5 million each year of the four-year cull. The scapegoating of these innocent animals redirects the public’s focus from the real problems at the Columbia – overfishing, a polluted river filled with toxins, and the dam itself.

CALL TO ACTION: Though Sea Shepherd does not currently have Dam Guardians on the ground, we remain dedicated to protecting the animals who call the Columbia River home and exposing the true threats to this endangered salmon population. Please join us in speaking out against the planned killing of 16,000 cormorants for the “crime” of eating salmon. Here are ways you can help:

1) Attend one or both of the upcoming public meetings scheduled by the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the proposed cull to show that you stand with the cormorants and the sea lions, as well as the salmon:

July 10 from 2:30pm to 5:30pm PT
Matt Dishman Community Center
77 N.E. Knott St.
Portland, Oregon

July 24 from 3pm to 6pm

Best Western Lincoln Inn
555 Hamburg Ave.
Astoria, Oregon

2) Submit public comments against the cull:

Email: Cormorant-EIS@usace.army.mil

Mail:

Sondra Ruckwardt
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District
Attn: CENWP-PM-E / Double-creasted cormorant draft EIS
P.O. Box 2946
Portland, OR 97208-2946

The deadline for public comments is August 4, 2014.

First sea lions. Now cormorants. Where and when will it end?

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