MARINE LIFE

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1994:

Canada is secretly among the
nations trying to overturn the U.S. ban on
imports of tuna netted “on dolphin” as a
violation of the General Agreement on Trade
and Tariffs, according to a Canadian govern-
ment document disclosed by Michael
O’Sullivan of the Humane Society of Canada.
Canada has only a small tuna fleet, but seeks a
precedent toward overturning the pending
European Community ban on imports of fur
caught with leghold traps. Intended to take
effect in January, that ban has reportedly been
put off for another year, and is already subject
of a protest to the GATT tribunal by the U.S.-
based National Trappers Association.

Satified that Chile is moving deci-
sively to end the slaughter of dolphins, seals,
and sea lions for use as crab bait, Defenders of
Wildlife, the Environmental Investigation
Agency, and three fishing groups on August
17 withdrew a petition asking the U.S. to ban
imports of Chilean-caught crabs. The
International Union for the Conservation of
Nature recently ranked the risk of extinction of
the Commerson’s dolphin due to Chilean crab
fishing as the second most urgent marine
mammal issue globally.
Stepping up a four-year-old effort
to save sea turtles, Nicaragua on July 14
completely banned turtle hunting during the
mating and spawning seasons. An estimated
60,000 turtles hatched 1.4 million young on
Nicaraguan beaches this year, according to
turtle program chief Maria Eugenia Kraudy,
but only one in 200 reaches sexual maturity at
age 8 and returns to Nicaragua to reproduce.
A DNA study by Brian Bowen of
the University of Florida and Luc Larent of
Lyon University has established that 60% of
the endangered loggerhead sea turtles drowned
in fishing nets off the Mediterranean coast of
Spain are born on Florida beaches. The heavy
Mediterranean mortality contributes to the
decline of the loggerhead population in U.S.
waters, now estimated at 30,000.
The Shedd Aquarium on August 9
returned six loggerhead sea turtles to the
Atlantic. The Shedd rehabilitated the turtles
after James T. Frainey, 33, of Frankfort,
Illinois, left two of them at the door and the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service caught him
with the rest. Frainey was sentenced in June to
serve 70 days in prison and pay $14,455 resti-
tution to the Shedd.
The Whale Research Group a t
Memorial University in St. Johns,
Newfoundland, has developed a sonic alarm
to keep whales away from fish nets by making
them less “accoustically foggy.” The 3,000 to
5,000 humpback whales who feed off
Newfoundland and Labrador each summer hit
nets 1,500 times in 1991; of 137 whales
caught, 15 died. Due to the Canadian codfish-
ing moratorium imposed in July 1992, only 60
whales were caught that year, seven died.
Last year 33 were caught; five died.
Surfer Bruce Corby, 22, was
killed July 8 in the first fatal great white shark
attack along the East London part of the South
African coast since 1960. The South African
Museum Shark Research Centre urged offi-
cials to resist killing sharks in retaliation.
New England Aquarium staff are
irate because the “seal” in the new Paramount
film Andre is actually played by a sea lion.
Producer Annette Handley says she couldn’t
find a trained harbor seal in time to meet her
distribution deadline.
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