By Adam Wagner GateHouse Media Posted Nov 24, 2017 at 10:33 AMUpdated Nov 24, 2017 at 10:33 AM One of the world’s most endangered animals used to be routinely seen off the NC coast. Not anymore. WILMINGTON — After years of steady improvement, one of the Atlantic ocean’s most at-risk… Read More ›
“The Trump administration has declared war on whales, dolphins and turtles off the coast of California,” Todd Steiner, director of the California-based Turtle Island Restoration Network, told the LA Times.
So far, 15 additional dead humpback whales have shown up along the east coast, bringing the total to 41. The high number led the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to open an investigation into what is now officially classified as an unusual mortality event.
Entanglements have surpassed ship strikes as a leading danger to right whales in recent years. Forty-four percent of diagnosed right whale deaths were due to ship strikes and 35 percent were due to entanglements from 1970 to 2009, the study said. From 2010 to 2015, 15 percent of diagnosed deaths were due to ship strikes and 85 percent were due to entanglements, it said.
Each year around 650,000 whales, dolphins and other marine mammals are unintentionally caught and killed in fishing gear worldwide. Under the new rule, foreign fishermen must meet the same marine mammal protection standards applied to U.S. fishermen or their fish will be banned from the lucrative American seafood market.
Crab fishermen have taken the lead on this issue and many are already taking part in a limited basis pilot project that was initiated two years ago. Approximately 1,500 lost crab pots have been collected in that program. SB 1287 will build upon the successful pilot project by advancing a statewide solution to the growing problem.