Sea life

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1994:

Foiled when a crew from the Shedd Aquarium in
Chicago caught three Pacific whitesided dolphins on
November 27, protesters who hoped to disrupt the capture
effort instead spent the next month keeping the dolphins’ hold-
ing pen at the Kettenburg Marine wharf in San Diego under
around-the-clock surveillance. Steve Hindi of the Chicago
Animal Rights Coalition took video that he claimed shows dol-
phins swimming “in a bathtub ring of their own excrement,”
which a Shedd spokesperson claimed was salt added to the
water to simulate the chemistry of the ocean. The video also
showed “frenzied Shedd officials erecting a barrier to obscure
the traumatized dolphins from view,” Hindi said, and enabled
members of the Whale Rescue Team to identify “a steady
stream of visitors,” including Tim Hauser, who reputedly cap-
tures marine mammals for many aquariums, and a number of
Navy personnel, whose presence was unexplained. The Navy
has applied, however, to do underwater weapons testing in one
area where the dolphins might have been caught, the Outer-Sea
Test Range. Designated in 1946, the range lies seaward of the
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The proposed test-
ing will involve “incidental” deaths and injuries to any marine
mammals who happen to be near test explosions, and is
opposed by many of the same groups that opposed the dolphin
captures, as well as the usually conservative National Audubon
Society. As Christmas approached, the Shedd team was hold-
ing daily “desensitizing drills,” preparing the dolphins for trans-
port by raising and lowering them in a cargo sling.

Nations that formerly belonged to the USSR are
selling captive dolphins for hard cash, the World Society for
the Protection of Animals charged on December 17. “This trade
has resulted in at least 50 deaths,” a WSPA release said, as
dolphins are sent to exhibitors as far away as Vietnam with few
questions asked about holding conditions or the expertise of the
keepers. WSPA is supporting efforts by Ric O’Barry of the
Dolphin Project to rehabilitate for release six former Soviet dol-
phins who ended up at a bankrupt amusement park in Tel Aviv,
Israel, and another who is the sole survivor of 11 who were
sent to Argentina. O’Barry and WSPA are running into resis-
tance, as the Israeli Nature Reserves Authority wants to return
three dolphins to Russia and transfer the rest to another Tel
Aviv amusement park, while the Argentine government has not
yet committed itself to any action on their dolphin.
Three dolphins who spent the summer and fall in an
inland bay just past the narrow mouth of the Shrewsbury River
along the New Jersey Coast apparently drowned when the water
froze during the last week of December, despite a four-day
attempt by four state Marine Police boats and a Coast Guard
vessel to clear them a path to safety. Mammal Stranding Center
executive director Bob Schoelkopf had warned public officials
for months that the dolphins should have been herded out of the
river mouth before the annual freeze. While dolphins do well in
cold water, they drown when ice cuts off their access to air.
Lobster exports from Canada––amounting to 75%
of the catch––are reportedly down 30% this winter.
Canadian Atlantic Lobster Promotion Association spokesperson
Alan Baker blames poor handling of live lobsters for quality
control problems that have depressed the European and
Japanese markets. Mortality in overcrowded shipping contain-
ers runs around 25% and can go to 100% as many of the lob-
sters become “logs.” Explained Baker to Derrick Toth of
Canadian Press, “A log is a lobster with no legs left because of
the overcrowded conditions. Between chewing at one another
and just the abrasiveness of the crate, the legs wear off.”
According to the Anchorage Daily News, fishing
vessels in Alaska’s Bering Sea threw 253,500 tons of fish of
nontarget species overboard in 1992, amounting to one
pound of fish for every eight pounds netted, including 61% of
the rocksole catch, 38% of the yellowfin sole catch, 36% of
the Pacific cod catch, and 20 million crabs.
Confirming Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
founder Paul Watson’s predictions of last summer, when he
warned that the Atlantic Canada cod fishery was in serious dan-
ger because of foreign dragnetters, Canada on December 20
renewed an ongoing suspension of cod fishing in all but the
western edge of the Scotian shelf and the Georges Bank off
Nova Scotia.
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