Standing up for marine animals is the perfect way to celebrate World Oceans Day

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson

June 8, 2021 0 Comments

Standing up for marine animals is the perfect way to celebrate World Oceans Day

A quarter of all shark and related species are currently at risk of extinction. Alamy

Fewer than 400 North Atlantic right whales remain on our planet; fins from 73 million sharks are traded every year; warming waters render habitats increasingly unlivable for animals once at home there. Clearly, the status quo for the animals of our oceans urgently needs to change.

On World Oceans Day, we highlight some of the most urgent threats to marine life right now and what the Humane Society family of organizations is doing to address them.

Promising progress for sharks

Not only are sharks fascinating creatures, but they are also important indicators of the health of our oceans. Sadly, a quarter of all shark and related species are currently threatened with extinction, and current rates of fishing mortality are unsustainable for these slow-reproducing animals. In particular, every year, tens of millions of sharks worldwide are killed for their fins, most often for shark fin soup. The practice known as shark finning involves hacking the fins off sharks while they are still alive and then throwing them back into the sea; unable to move, they die of shock, blood loss or predation. Thankfully, shark finning is prohibited in U.S. waters, but our domestic trade in shark fins continues to fuel finning in other countries with no similar restrictions.

There is hope. The Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, introduced as S. 1106 by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., would remove the U.S. from the global shark fin trade. This legislation is currently moving through the U.S. Senate as part of a larger legislative package. We urge the Senate to move quickly and the House to take up the legislation which it previously passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote.

If enacted, the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act would be a gamechanger for shark protection in the U.S., prohibiting the commercial trade of shark fins and products containing shark fins throughout the country. Already, 17 states and three U.S. territories have banned or limited the trade in shark fins. A federal law banning the shark fin trade would make the U.S. truly stand out as a leader in shark protection.

Helping marine mammals in U.S. waters and around the world

Each year in the U.S., thousands of sick and injured marine mammals receive care thanks to support from the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program. From its inception in 2000 through 2017, the Prescott Grant Program provided 739 grants to regional networks that collectively responded to an average of 5,167 sick and injured marine mammals each year. The Marine Mammal Research and Response Act (S. 1289, led by Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and H.R. 2848, led by Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., Brian Mast, R-Fla., and Marilyn Strickland, D-Wash.) would reauthorize the funding program. The Senate recently passed its bill unanimously through the Senate Commerce Committee.

There are also legislative efforts to address the adverse impacts of climate change on marine mammals including the Marine Mammal Climate Change Protection Act, introduced last week by Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif. and the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act, championed by Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., which is expected to be reintroduced this week.

Protecting the oceans requires international collaboration, which is why Humane Society International focuses on protecting marine wildlife globally, working to raise the profile of the world’s most threatened species and populations of whales, dolphins and porpoises and to ensure their future as healthy populations in clean seas. Also, the U.S. is a leading member nation of the International Whaling Commission, whose work in recent years has become increasingly crucial to conserving the world’s whales, dolphins and porpoises. We expect the U.S. to continue its strong support of the IWC and to lend its leadership to helping address the threats to these animals, including incidental capture in fishing nets, pollution, climate change and commercial whaling.

The fight to save the last North Atlantic right whales

Just a few hundred North Atlantic right whales are left. These beautiful creatures are dying out because they become entangled in the heavy lines used in lobster and crab trap fisheries or get struck in vessel collisions.

We were disappointed by the long-awaited National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s biological opinion regarding the need to reduce deaths of North Atlantic right whales. Both the timeline for action and the conservation framework fall far short of what’s needed to reduce their annual death toll. We are urging decisive action immediately for this dwindling species.

How you can help

All year round, advocates throughout the Humane Society family of organizations fight to protect marine animals and strengthen the health of our ocean ecosystems. Everyone can join in this movement: Take action for marine animals by urging your Representative to pass the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, and help raise awareness about the threats to our oceans by spreading the word among your friends and family.

We share our planet and our ocean ecosystems with amazing creatures. It’s up to all of us ensure that these animals and their habitats prosper for generations to come.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.

Marineland changes gears, won’t reopen this weekend

Jul 13 10:45PM -0400


By <> John LawReview

Mon., July 13, 2020timer1 min. read

Marineland is putting the brakes on plans to reopen this weekend.

After announcing last week it would open for its 59th season July 17, the
park issued a statement late Monday that it “decided to push back” its
opening date to July 24.

“The decision comes after the park’s efforts to make sure some, if not all,
of the most popular attractions can open with the park,” the statement

Marineland says the delay is meant to offer guests a “better experience in
the coming days,” and is in accordance with “recent updates” from the
Ontario government.

On Monday, Premier Doug Ford announced much of the province will move to
Phase 3 of its reopening Friday, but Niagara will remain in Phase 2.

According to the Reopening Ontario
<> website, waterparks and
amusement parks are to be closed in Phase 2, and they will remain closed
during Phase 3.

In its statement, Marineland says it is “working closely with health and
government officials to ensure that all health and safety protocols are in
place before the park opens to make sure the public can have a safe and
enjoyable experience.”

In its reopening press release, the park said its Polar Splash water park
would be open, with staff monitoring the number of guests allowed in.

It also said staff would be provided with face masks.

When asked about opening in light of the provincial guidelines, a parks
spokesperson said Marineland is allowed to operate under Stage 2 as a

In Monday’s statement, Marineland owner Marie Holer – wife of late owner
John Holer – said “we are lucky we are an outdoor facility with lots of room
for people to social distance while still enjoying the attractions.”


-changes-gears-wont-reopen-this-weekend.html> Marineland changes gears,
won’t reopen this weekend |

Marineland is putting the brakes on plans to reopen this weekend. After
announcing last week it would open for its 59th season July 17, the park
issued a statement late Monday that it “decided to push back” its opening
date to July 24. “The decision comes after the park’s efforts to make … <

Australia’s Marine Animals Are the Fires’ Unseen Victims

As wildfires ravage Australia’s land and forests, so far killing an estimated one billion terrestrial animals, researchers worry marine and freshwater species will become invisible victims.

More than 17.1 million hectares of land have burned across the country, with the worst fires currently raging in New South Wales and Victoria, states in the nation’s southeast, according to Australia’s Department of the Environment and Energy (DEE). Adrian Meder, a marine campaigner at the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), says these fires are leaving behind a huge number of charred plants and a massive amount of ash.

Though Australia is in the midst of a massive drought, when the rain inevitably returns—as it already has in some regions—this organic matter will rush into rivers and flow into coastal lakes, estuaries, and seagrass and seaweed beds.

The free-flowing silt will get into fish’s gills and block sunlight that seagrass and seaweed beds need for photosynthesis, efectively strangling them. “It’s essentially like putting a shade cloth all over the entire system,” says Leonardo Guida, a shark campaigner with AMCS.

The slurry of potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen will se alga in the water to bloom. The algae will consume the oxygen in the water, suffocating species that rely on it.

The fires have also torched many forests near the coast, destroying plants that filter silt and excess nutrients. The ecosystems are adapted to the low nutrient flows from the land, Meder explains. But “these fires have effectively clear-felled areas on a scale that hasn’t been seen before.”

Many commercial aquatic species, such as flathead, snapper, prawns, and various shellfish, begin their lives in coastal lakes and seagrass and seaweed beds. These coastal habitats are also spawning areas for species, including seahorses, and their degradation could send ripples throughout the larger ecosystem, the researchers say.

Some of these effects are already being felt. In southern New South Wales and Victoria and on Kangaroo Island, the fires are causing problems for fisheries and aquaculture, according to DEE.

When the rain began in the Central Coast region of New South Wales, members of the Darkinjung, a local Aboriginal land council, set up barriers to keep the deluge of silt- and ash-filled water out of the region’s rivers, lakes, and estuaries. According to Kelvin Johnson, a senior land management officer with the Darkinjung, they have already seen some dead fish in nearby rivers.

The wildfires and their aftermath have caused and could continue to cause cultural damage as well, Johnson says.

Australia’s Indigenous peoples, Johnson says, use sacred songlines—a complex mix of celestial references, songs, oral history, and physical and cultural landmarks—to navigate terrestrial and aquatic routes. Though it’s too early to know the extent of the damage, Johnson says if the fires harm oysters, crustaceans, flathead, or mullet, that would mark a loss of these cultural touchstones.

Last week, Australia’s federal government announced an AU $50-million (US $35-million) recovery fund (part of its AU $2-billion bushfire fund) to restore and protect damaged ecosystems and wildlife. But there has been no funding dedicated to marine and aquatic areas, Guida says. DEE notes that some of those funds may go to emergency interventions, such as erosion control, to stem sediment flows into aquatic ecosystems.

The ocean and the coast need dedicated help, Guida says. Though the devastation on land is much more visible, the health of the ocean and the land are intrinsically tied together.

Gray whales washing up dead on Northwest beaches

Whale strandings
Responders examine a malnourished adult gray whale in April after it was towed to a remote beach after initially being found floating near downtown Seattle.

An unusually large number of gray whales are washing up dead on their northbound migration past the Oregon and Washington state coasts this year.

The peak stranding time for gray whales in the Pacific Northwest is normally April, May and June. But the federal agency NOAA Fisheries has already logged nine dead whales washed ashore in Washington state and one in Oregon. That’s on top of 21 strandings on California beaches since the beginning of the year.

There were 25 dead gray whale strandings on the entire West Coast in all of 2018.

One 39-foot-long dead adult whale was found floating in Elliott Bay this month, right in front of downtown Seattle.

“This is looking like it is going to be a big year for gray whale strandings,” said Jessie Huggins, stranding coordinator for the Olympia-based Cascadia Research Collective.

Since February, Huggins has participated in necropsies of malnourished, mostly adult, gray whales on Whidbey Island and the Key Peninsula to Ocean Shores and Long Beach, Washington.

“We’re seeing very thin whales with little to no food in their stomachs,” Huggins said. “This is kind of leading us to believe that this is an issue of nutritional stress with a few normal-type strandings mixed in.”

Huggins said these whales probably didn’t get fat enough on their summer feeding grounds in Alaskan waters last year.

Responders in rain gear and elbow-high rubber gloves cut into the massive carcasses to examine the animals’ fat reserves and internal organs. Multiple whales exhibited dry fibrous blubber. The responders noted ribcages and vertebra sticking out, measured healed scars and took tissue samples for later analysis for contaminants.

Despite the unusual number of dead whales found, NOAA Fisheries spokesman Michael Milstein said the overall population of gray whales is fine, “probably as big as it’s ever been” in modern times.

Eastern Pacific gray whales were taken off the endangered species list in 1994. The population is now estimated at 27,000, which may be around the carrying capacity of their ocean territory.

“They’ve been coming back strong,” Milstein said.

Gray whale and humpback whale casualties from entanglement in commercial and tribal fishing gear have been a growing concern for federal officials, certain environmental groups and the fishing industry lately. None of dead gray whales found this spring on Oregon and Washington state beaches were entangled in fishing or crabbing lines, however.

Crabbers and fishing boat owners are scheduled to meet with researchers and government representatives when two separate work groups convene next month along the Oregon and Washington state coasts to hear updates about entanglement risk reduction strategies.

Sometimes it takes a village to examine and pull samples from a decomposing whale. Huggins said she has worked alongside colleagues this winter and spring from Portland State University, Seattle Pacific University, the nonprofit SR3, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and World Vets.

n Russia, a battle to free nearly 100 captured whales

I[AFP] Maria ANTONOVA ,AFP•February 22, 2019

Captured marine mammals seen from above in enclosures at a holding facility in Srednyaya Bay in the Far Eastern town of Nakhodka (AFP Photo/Sergei PETROV)
Nearly 100 killer and beluga whales were captured last summer for sale to oceanariums, especially the Chinese market (AFP Photo/Sergei PETROV)
Greenpeace activists and supporters rally in Moscow, demanding the release of the orcas and beluga whales back into the wild (AFP Photo/Alexander NEMENOV)

1 / 4
Captured marine mammals seen from above in enclosures at a holding facility in Srednyaya Bay in the Far Eastern town of Nakhodka Captured marine mammals seen from above in enclosures at a holding facility in Srednyaya Bay in the Far Eastern town of Nakhodka (AFP Photo/Sergei PETROV)

Dozens of orcas and beluga whales captured for sale to oceanariums have brought Russia’s murky trade into the spotlight, but efforts to free them have been blocked by government infighting.

Russia is the only country where orcas, or killer whales, and belugas can be caught in the ocean for the purpose of “education”. The legal loophole has been used to export them to satisfy demand in China’s growing network of ocean theme parks.

Photos of a total of 11 orcas and 87 belugas crammed into small enclosures at a secure facility in the Far Eastern town of Nakhodka sparked a global outcry, and the Kremlin on Friday stepped in, saying the fate of “suffering” animals must be resolved.

“There have never been that many animals caught in one season and kept in one facility before anywhere in the world,” said Dmitry Lisitsyn, head of the Sakhalin Environmental Watch group, who has emerged as a point person in the campaign to release the whales captured last summer back into the wild.

Russian investigators launched two probes into poaching and animal cruelty, while Russia’s environmental watchdog said it has refused to issue permits to export the whales.

But the investigations and any potential court case could drag on for months.

The Russian government is split between the environment ministry that says the animals must be released, and the fisheries agency that defends their capture as part of a legitimate industry.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered his ministers to “decide on the fate of the whales” by March 1, a decree said Friday.

“The animals are suffering” and may die, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, adding that they “are being kept in conditions that are inadequate for such young animals of these species.”

– 200 orcas left –

The captured killer whales belong to the rarer seal-eating population of the species, which does not interbreed or interact with fish-eating orcas.

The environment ministry has tried to list the seal-eating type as endangered, ministry representative Olga Krever said.

“This population has only 200 adult animals” in Russian waters, she said.

But the agriculture ministry, which controls the fisheries agency and oversees non-protected sea species, views orcas as competitors for Russia’s fish stocks and doesn’t believe they are under threat, Krever said, calling the dispute a “big problem.”

Marine mammal researchers say there are good chances of a successful release, but the fisheries agency told AFP that it “carries high risks of their mass death”.

“Neither orcas nor belugas are endangered,” and are simply a resource that can be used according to existing legislation, agency representative Sergei Golovinov said.

– ‘Stars of the shows’ –

Both the United States and Canada stopped catching wild orcas in the 1970s due to negative publicity, so China relies on Russian exports.

There are 74 operational ocean theme parks in mainland China featuring whales and dolphins, according to the China Cetacean Alliance, which monitors the industry. More are under construction.

“Orcas are like the cherry on the cake” for new Chinese venues, said Greenpeace Russia campaigner Oganes Targulyan at a recent protest against whale capture.

“They are the stars of the shows.”

All 17 killer whales that Russia has exported since 2013 — which officials value at up to $6 million each — have gone to China, according to CITES wildlife trade figures.

Though the animals in Nakhodka are unlikely to get green-lighted for export, their fate is unclear.

The urgency of the situation is clear however: one killer whale went missing from the Nakhodka facility this week, Sakhalin Watch said Thursday, suspecting it may be dead.

In the West, there is widespread opposition to keeping the highly intelligent marine mammals in parks like the US chain Sea World, but in Russia public opinion is not so certain.

Companies that caught the animals are not giving up. At the weekend, they launched a new Instagram account, praising the Nakhodka facility and defending the oceanarium industry.

– ‘Lobbyist muscle’ –

On Saturday, dozens of pro-industry supporters disrupted a rally to free the whales. They showed up with signs reading “Each orca is 10 jobs” for the crews hired to catch them, and only left when police arrived on the scene.

“We see that the capturing companies are putting up a fight,” Lisitsyn said. “They are using their lobbyist muscle.”

Researchers meanwhile are already starting to organise to prepare for a potential release of the animals.

“There has never been so many animals released in the past,” said Dmitry Glazov, a beluga whale researcher at the Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution in Moscow.

He said a project of that scale would certainly require international expertise and funding. The whales, which have been fed dead fish, would need to go through an adaptation period to make sure they can rely on their natural food sources.

“For science, releasing this many animals would be invaluable,” he said.
“But there needs to be a decision first.”

Another dolphin dies at Dolphinaris Arizona, 4th death in less than 2 years

NEAR SCOTTSDALE (3TV/CBS 5) – Dolphinaris Arizona announced Thursday evening that another of one its dolphins has died.

Kai, a 22-year-old male, is the fourth dolphin to die at the facility since it opened amid controversy on reservation land adjacent to Scottsdale.

[SLIDESHOW: The dolphins]

[READ MORE: Third Dolphinaris Arizona dolphin dies (Dec. 31, 2018)]

“Immediately after Kai started showing signs of health decline two weeks ago our team made every effort to save his life, including bloodwork testing, ultrasounds, x-rays, and engaging external specialists and submitting diagnostic samples to outside university veterinary laboratories,” Christian Schaeffer, the general manager at Dolphinaris Arizona, said in a statement sent to media outlets. “Kai initially seemed to be responding, but his health suddenly declined last night around 11:30 p.m. After the veterinary team administrated hours of critical care, including providing him oxygen, medicine and x-ray testing, Kai’s condition continued to decline. We made the extremely difficult decision to humanely euthanize Kai ensuring he would pass peacefully.”

[READ MORE: Discrepancy in reported cause of death at Dolphinaris raises new concerns (Nov. 17, 2017)]

Kai’s death comes a month after Khloe, an 11-year-old female Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, died after battling what Dolphinaris Arizona officials described as a chronic illness.

In May 2018, Dolphinaris Arizona lost another female dolphin named Alia. She was 10 years old.

In September 2017, a dolphin named Bodie died of “a rare muscle disease.”

Bodie died just shy of Dolphinaris Arizona’s first anniversary.

[AND THIS: Activists rally outside Scottsdale aquarium after federal report on dolphin death (Nov. 18, 2017)]

Schaeffer said the facility has launched an investigation to review the dolphins’ death.

“We recognize losing four dolphins over the last year and a half is abnormal,” said Schaeffer. “Over the last several years we have worked with a team of external experts in the fields of animal behavior, water quality and veterinary care to ensure our dolphin family remains healthy. We will be taking proactive measures to increase our collaborative efforts to further ensure our dolphins’ wellbeing (sic) and high quality of life.”

[RELATED: General manager of Dolphinaris responds to opposition (May 4, 2016)]

Dolphinaris said it has already contacted a third-party pathologist to conduct a necropsy, which is an animal autopsy, to help determine the source of Kai’s health problems.

Dolphin Free AZ, with support from Dolphin Project, is planning to hold a protest in front of Dolphinaris on Saturday at 11 a.m.

“With four out of eight dolphins dying inside of 16 months, the situation has reached critical mass. For the safety of the public and the remaining dolphins, all activities should cease at Dolphinaris Arizona until an independent investigation takes place,” said Lincoln O’Barry with the Dolphin Project.

Dolphinaris, which is part of the OdySea In The Desert complex on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community near Scottsdale, opened in October 2016.

[RELATED: Trainers keep dolphins safe in 119 degree heat (June 20, 2017)]

On Friday, PETA released the following statement about the latest dolphin death:

“As the National Aquarium in Baltimore prepares to move dolphins to seaside sanctuaries, the Parliament of Canada considers a bill that would ban dolphin captivity, and two belugas will soon move to the first beluga sanctuary, Dolphinaris Arizona’s deadly dolphin prison is out of touch with public sentiment—and there’s no excuse for keeping it open. PETA urges Dolphinaris to send surviving dolphins to seaside sanctuaries, where they would never again be forced to haul tourists on their backs in the sweltering Arizona desert.”

PETA supporters will join Dolphin Free AZ in partnership with Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project in calling on Dolphinaris to send the dolphins to seaside sanctuaries at a memorial protest on Saturday, February 2, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the west corners of E. Via de Ventura and N. Pima Road in Scottsdale.

Marineland Doesn’t Seem to Want to See Us; Here’s How They Can Keep Us Away

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA’s Canadian Representative

Published 08/17/18

Top: Small bucket is the only water source for numerous large animals in enclosure at Marineland.
Bottom: Animals at Marineland struggle to find shade from the blazing hot sun during heatwave.

My last two blogs were accompanied by photographs of animals I saw imprisoned at Marineland, Niagara Falls, Ontario, when I went there with Zoocheck’s Rob Laidlaw last July 5th, during a blistering heat wave. The harbor seals were not affected by record temperatures, being in a small pool in a cool interior, but at no time when we observed them did they open their eyes, an unnatural condition as verified by an expert on seal eyes, not to mention all memories I have of wild harbor seals with their soulfully bulbous eyes wide open. There have been concerns raised about the effects of chlorine on eyes and I thought I could smell chlorine, but whatever the reason, seeing the animals so confined, eyes tightly shut, certainly depressed me.

But, no more so than conditions out in open paddocks where there waslittle or no shade for numbers of large, hoofed herbivores, and water only appearing to be available in containers about the size of a bucket or pail.

On August 8, I received an email from Stephanie Littlejohn, Law Clerk, Hunt Partners LLP, a Toronto-based law firm calling itself “a unique blend of corporate and civil advocacy” consisting of “recognized litigation leaders and trusted advisors.” Ms. Littlejohn wrote: “Please find attached a Notice of Trespass for Marineland of Canada (Inc.), which is being served upon you.”

The notice prohibited me from entering Marineland’s property “At any time for any reason whatsoever” under the Trespass to Property Act. “I got one too,” laughed Rob, when I called to tell him.

Doubtless, Ms. Littlejohn and her colleagues are very professional corporate and civil advocates. Their opinions on animal welfare may differ from their client’s. Ms. Littlejohn might never even have been to Marineland or know much about animal husbandry. But, Rob’s and my expertise includes animal welfare and we both passionately care about animals. Whether any others care about animals with only pots of water and little or no shade in searing heat, or seals with eyes tightly shut, Rob and I do care how animals are treated.

Ironically, I actually don’t want to ever visit Marineland. I was so depressed by my first time there that I avoided the place for 37 years, only returning to see an exhibit that had been falsely advertised; it wasn’t there. Having paid admission, Rob and I looked at the other animals. I’m happy to wait another 37 years, by which time Ms. Littlejohn will probably be a retired lawyer and I’ll be long gone.

For now, I would gladly pay the maximum trespass fine of two thousand bucks if I thought it would eliminate my concerns, or better yet, that Marineland simply had no animals for me to worry about. If Ms. Littlejohn, Hunt Partners LLP, and Marineland want to keep me out, just eliminate the concerns I addressed &ndahs; or better yet, stop imprisoning animals – and I promise to never again cross Marineland’s doorstep. Honest.

Court grants ban of fish imports from Mexico caught with nets that hurt endangered porpoise

A trade court Thursday ordered the Trump administration to implement a ban
on seafood imports from Mexico caught with a method tied to harming an
endangered porpoise species.

The United States Court of International Trade ruled that the government
must ban Mexican imports of seafood caught using gillnets, a fishing
technique that has been found to injure and kill the critically endangered
vaquita porpoise.

Scientists believe there are only 15 vaquitas left in the wild, which could
leave the species extinct by 2021.

The court denied the Trump administration’s motion to dismiss the case
writing, “Evidence shows that vaquita are killed by gillnet fishing and are
on the verge of extinction: because the statutory duty to ban fish imports
resulting in such excessive marine mammal bycatch is mandatory, the
Government must comply with it.”

Gillnets are a type of fishing net that is hung in the water to catch
passing-by seafood.

The case brought by three conservation groups, the Natural Resources Defense
Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Animal Welfare
Institute against the Department of Commerce argues that it is the U.S.
government’s duty to enact a ban on Mexico under the Marine Mammal
Protection Act for the vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise.

The court agreed, determining that the “law commands” that “the Secretary of
the Treasury shall ban imports of fish and fish products from northern Gulf
fisheries that utilize gillnets and incidentally kill vaquita in excess of
United States standards.”

The vaquita is most often found in the upper Gulf of California. Seafood
products typically caught with gillnets include shrimp, corvina, Spanish
mackerel and bigeye croaker.

According to data compiled by the National Marine Fisheries Service under
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. imported more than
$55 million worth of seafood from Mexico in 2017.

More than 90 percent of the seafood eaten in the U.S. is imported.

Dolphin liberation in Korea

Science News
from research organizations

May 27, 2018
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology(UNIST)
Biologists have carried out a scientific investigation on dolphin liberation in South Korea.

“Dolphin liberation in South Korea has raised awareness towards the welfare of marine animals and has resulted in the strengthening of animal protection policies and the level of welfare.”

An engineering student, affiliated with UNIST has recently carried out a scientific investigation on dolphin liberation in South Korea. The paper presents the overall analysis of the social impact of the first case of dolphin rehabilitation in Asia, which occurred in 2013.

This study has been carried out by Sejoon Kim in the School of Energy and Chemical Engineering in collaboration wit Professor Bradley Tatar in the Division of General Studies at UNIST. Their findings have been published in the April issue of the journal, Coastal Management and will be published online, this month.

“After the release of captive dolphins from South Korean marine parks, there has been a growing environmental movement towards the conservation and management of marine and coastal ecosystems,” says Sejoon. “Although such movement relies on a single-species conservation focus and does not encompass an entire ecosystem, it has enormous symbolic significance for the welfare of marine animals.”

The research team hopes to expand their research to areas beyond the study of dolphin liberation and carry out in-depth case studies on various topics, including the whale-eating culture in Ulsan, the public perspective of dolphin shows, as well as the establishment of new types of dolphin life experience facilities.

Act would dismantle marine mammal protection

There is distressing news on the front page of the Monday, April 2, Los Angeles Times, which is relevant to animals off coasts all over the US. The headline and subheading read: “Sea life at risk as U.S. seeks to ease oil rules; Bills would speed up permits for seismic blasts and dismantle safeguards for whales.”

Environmental reporter Rosanna Xia opens with:

“The search for offshore oil begins with a boom.

“Before the oil rigs arrive and the boring begins, operators need to fire intense seismic blasts repeatedly into the ocean to find oil deposits.

“For decades, environmental rules that protected whales and other marine life from this cacophony have limited the location and frequency of these blasts — preventing oil companies from exploring, and therefore operating, off much of the nation’s coasts.

“Now these safeguards are quietly being dismantled.

“The push to overhaul seismic survey rules has not attracted the same public attention as the Trump administration’s interest in opening coastal waters to dozens of new drilling leases or downsizing protected marine areas. But it too could have wide implications beyond enabling new oil operations.

“Winding their way through Congress are two bills that supporters say would create jobs, reduce permitting delays and clear the way for naval activities and coastal restoration.

“But environmentalists call them a thinly veiled oil industry wish list that would upend established protections and fast-track the permitting process for oil exploration off the Atlantic, much of Alaska and even California.”

We are told of the bills, which are called the Streamlining Environmental Approvals Act:

“They target core provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which regulates seismic blasts used to locate oil and gas. The noise, scientists say, can disorient and damage the hearing of whales and dolphins so badly that they lose their ability to navigate and reproduce.”

The lengthy article also lets us know:

“There has been little movement on the bills since the SEA Act passed committee in January. But opponents are concerned it could be folded last-minute into this year’s military reauthorization or another must-pass bill.”

Front page coverage helps make that at least a little bit less likely. You can comment right below the article, which you will find on line at OR . And you can send appreciative letters to the editor that speak up for animals to
The article opens the door for them. Always include your full name, address and phone number when sending a letter to the editor.