Herring are important economically because they serve as key bait for the lobster and tuna industries. They’re also used as food for human consumption. But perhaps most important, the fish is a critical part of the marine ecosystem because it serves as food for whales, seals and large fish.
The commercial fishing industry had opposed the creation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, saying that prohibiting commercial fishing in the two areas would cripple the industry. But according to Brad Sewell, oceans attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, two years after designating those protected areas, the numbers tell a different story.
Last year saw an alarming dieoff of North Atlantic right whales, something researchers refer as an “unusual mortality event.” Their carcasses littered the shores of the east coast—12 in Canada and 5 in the United States. Necropsies revealed that most of the animals died from blunt force trauma or entanglement issues. This brings the North Atlantic right whale’s fragile population to an estimated fewer than 500.
For decades, the U.S. military routinely dumped thousands of tons of obsolete, excess and captured munitions into U.S. coastal waters, thinking the high seas were the best place for the materials to safely decompose. The Atomic Energy Commission likewise oversaw the ocean dumping of untold thousands of drums of low-level radioactive waste from the nation’s manufacturing, research, medical and military sectors.
“There is now evidence that some of these toxins on the microplastics can be transferred to animals that eat them, with potential harmful effects.”
An unusually high number of dead minke whales reported along the East Coast in the past year has prompted federal officials to launch an investigation into what’s killing the protected animals. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Wednesday that… Read More ›
It comes as figures reveal 2017 as a ‘devastating year’ for dolphins and porpoises, with a total of 249 cetaceans recorded as Marine Strandings along the Cornish coastline – the highest recorded since 2003.