Ocean species

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1994:

The National Resources Defense
Council sued the U.S. Navy on April 17 in
Los Angeles, seeking to block 270 sched-
uled underwater explosives tests near the
Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary,
slated to start April 24 and go on for five
years. The suit claims the permits issued to
the Navy by the National Marine Fisheries
Service violate the Marine Mammal
Protection Act, the National Environmental
Policy Act, and the Migratory Bird Treaty
Act. Co-plaintiffs include Save The Whales,
the Humane Society of the U.S., American
Oceans Campaign, and Heal the Bay.

A proposed attempt by the
Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La
Jolla, California, to measure thermal vari-
ance in the oceans via sound waves was
delayed and may be cancelled after a flurry
of opposition surfaced at a hearing on the
plan held March 22 by the National Marine
Fisheries Service. While Scripps insisted
the underwater loudspeakers it intended to
use would not harm marine life, others were
unconvinced, including Nick Voth of the
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society online
network, who noted that as many as
1,503,503 animals could be affected accord-
ing to Scripps’ own estimate of the maxi-
mum “take” of the experimental sequence,
which would go on for two years.
The Chicago Animal Rights
C o a l i t i o n on April 8 stunned Ted Beattie,
new director of the Shedd Aquarium, by
offering $2 million for the return to the
ocean of Faith, Hope, and Freedom, as the
group has named the three Pacific white-
sided dolphins the Shedd captured off
California in late November. Beattie said
he would have to take the offer to the Shedd
board. CHARC is gambling that in the
unlikely event the offer is accepted, it will
be able to raise the funds in donations.
A pilot whale released in mid-
April after receiving medical care for eight
months at the Shedd Aquarium was doing
well a few days later, according to a fishing
crew who sighted the whale––identifiable by
his radio transponder––20 miles off the New
Jersey coast. The successful release and the
near-simultaneous
escape of a sea lion
named Pumpkin from a U.S. Navy holding
pen near San Diego both tend to suggest that
at least some captive marine mammals can
go home again, if given the chance.
Surfer Michelle Von Emster,
25, of Ocean Beach, California, was iden-
tified April 17 as the first confirmed victim
of a great white shark attack along the U.S.
Pacific coast since 1959. Von Emster was
in remission from a bout with leukemia.
The California Department of
Fish and Game has proposed limiting sea
urchin captures to 7% of the 1988 peak take
of 30m illion pounds. A pound of sea
urchin gonads goes for $80 to $100 in Japan.
Sea urchins were the most lucrative catch in
the California fishing industry in 1992,
fetching $29 million, nearly twice as much
as rockfish, the runner up at $14.8 million,
but are now in steep decline.
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