Marine mammals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1993:

U.S. president Bill Clinton told
Congress on October 4 that while the
Norwegian resumption of commercial whaling
in defiance of the International Whaling
Commission warrants trade sanctions, he
believes they should not be imposed “until we
have exhausted all good faith efforts to per-
suade Norway to follow agreed conservation
measures.” Clinton did, however, direct his
staff to inventory products imported from
Norway that might be placed under embargo.
Pending federal action, the Animal Welfare
Institute on September 28 called a boycott of
Norwegian fish, cheese, clothing, and sonar
equipment. Alaska governor Walter Hickel
meanwhile announced that he’s reached a deal
with Norway: Alaska won’t criticize
Norwegian whaling if Norway won’t join an
international tourist boycott called to protest
the impending Alaskan wolf massacre (see
“Wildlife,” page 12). Iceland confirmed
October 15 that it also intends to resume com-
mercial whaling soon, likewise defying possi-
ble sanctions.

Autopsies of stranded whales indi-
cating that many have suffered hearing loss
have moved the National Marine Fisheries
Service to consider limiting the amount of
noise that can be made in U.S. waters.
Oceanographers are upset over a proposed
restriction of scientific sound-making to 120
decibels or less. A 1991 underwater signaling
experiment involved a 209-decibel impulse.
Dolphin calls average 220 decibels, ship
engines 180, polar ice movement 150, and
breaking waves 130. However, whales have
been observed to avoid sounds of as little as 90
to 135 decibels. The open air threshhold level
for human pain is 110 to 120 decibels, but the
underwater equivalent is 195 decibels.
The Alliance of Marine Mammal
Parks agreed October 20 to fund improved
conditions for Keiko, the orca star of the film
“Free Willy,” including a new filtration and
cooling system for Keiko’s too-small tank, a
better diet, and medical care for a serious skin
condition. When Keiko recovers, AMMP
hopes to move him from his present home at a
Mexico City amusement park to a more appro-
priate facility in the U.S.
Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.