A Monterey Bay Aquarium Release Now, at last, the scientific community is speaking with a single voice about the best ways to address the threats and preserve a healthy Pacific. More than 400 leading scientists from nearly two-dozen countries have… Read More ›
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Hard to stomach: Scientists were shocked to discover this rubbish inside the gut of a dead minke whale in 2002
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The minke was found on the Normandy coast. At first, it was assumed she had died of natural causes.
When her stomach was cut open, scientists were amazed to find nearly two pounds of plastic bags, eaten by mistake as she searched for food.
The 2lb haul included two plastic bags from English supermarkets, seven transparent plastic bags, and fragments from seven dustbin bags.
In an ironic twist, one of the bags found in the gut of the dead whale appears to read: “We support good farm animal welfare.”
Most worrying of all, there was no proper food in her stomach.
Minkes are among the smallest of the whales and the fastest moving. They can be seen swimming off the coasts of Scotland, Ireland and the South West.
The females are around 24ft long and weigh between five and ten tons. They can live for up to 60 years.
Although minkes are not threatened with immediate extinction, whale campaigners are concerned about their numbers. There are thought to be fewer than 184,000 left in the Atlantic.
Until the 1980s their biggest danger was hunters from Japan, Norway and Iceland. But another major threat has emerged in the plastic debris and rubbish in the seas.
Minkes feed by sieving huge amounts of water through plates in their mouths. The technique is supposed to catch small fish.
But as the seas get more polluted, the whales are also swallowing more rubbish.
The plastic can block their digestive tracts, causing serious internal damage. If the creatures consume enough bags, their stomachs become full, they stop eating and they starve.
A spokesman for the Marine Conservation Society said the Normandy minke had shocked the scientific world.
“It is an appalling amount of plastic to find in one female whale,” he said. “It brings home what happens if we allow plastics into the marine environment
The Marine Mammal Rescue and triage center in Morro Bay says about 10-20% of their rescues are from entanglement.
Technology can track down ghost nets, and artists find ways to recycle the finds, all while global lawmakers outlaw large drift nets. Will these effort resolve this giant environmental challenge?
Part 1 of 2 Parts by Charmaine Coimbra While watching the gray whale migration north from her living room window. Nice. They are beautiful. Dining with a well-educated and eco-concerned and active friend recently, I brought up this ghost net business. … Read More ›
Updated note on this post, Part 1 of 3 Parts: The copy has disappeared. I apologize. I’m looking thru my cyber-files to find this post. I’ll get it back up asap. Meanwhile: