From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1994:
Russian prime minister Victor
Chernomyrdin on October 7 signed approval
of the International Whaling Commission
agreement, reached last May, to establish a
Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary including
most waters below the 40th parallel south lati-
tude. Just amonth earlier his administration
formally objected to the sanctuary––the cre-
ation of which Russia supported at the IWC
meeting, against heavy pressure from Japan
and Norway. Because Russia objected in 1982
to the IWC-established international moratori-
um on commercial whaling, the objection to
the sanctuary meant that under IWC rules
Russia would have been uniquely entitled to
kill whales in Antarctic waters, exempt from
retaliatory trade sanctions. The turnabout came
two days after the Russian coastguard sank a
Japanese trawler near the disputed island of
Shikotan, and six days before a Russian mili-
tary airplane fired on a Norwegian trawler
which allegedly intruded upon a military exer-
cise in Arctic waters.
The Memorial University of
Newfoundland’s Whale Research Group
reported on October 20 that two humpback
whales found dead in fishing nets two years
ago near the Hibernia oil drilling rigs in Trinity
Bay had ear damage possibly caused by under-
water blasting. Blasting for the oil project is
now finished, a Hibernia spokesman said.
The Marine Mammal Stranding
Centers in Sausalito and Marin, California,
have rescued nearly 40 sea lions afflicted with
leptospirosis this year––a canine bacterial dis-
ease attacking the kidneys and bladder. Thus
weakened, sea lions often develop pnuemonia.
Rather than shoot seals who raid
his salmon farm in Loch Clash, Scots fish
farmer Charles Marsham had a boat-builder
make a 17-foot fibreglas orca, lowered it into
the loch, and saw his salmon losses drop from
200 a week to just 10. Now he’s building more
of the orcas to sell to colleagues.
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
a s s e s s m e n t of the status of the endangered
Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta smelt has
found no apparent relationship between water
diversions for irrigation and the decline of the
fish, contradicting long-held belief. The
decline was first noticed in 1980, just as large-
scale diversions to the Central Valley Project
canal and reservoir network began.
Two surplus Navy dolphins arrived
on loan October 11 at the Long Marine
Laboratory, a branch of the University of
California at Santa Cruz. Captured in the Gulf
of Mexico a decade ago, the dolphins will
reside in a 50-foot tank while being used in
Ric O’Barry of the Dolphin
Project on October 14 and 15 led protests
against dolphinariums in Zurich, Switzerland,
and Paris, France. Between demonstrations he
called ANIMAL PEOPLE to say Bogie and
Bacall, his latest release projects, are ready to
return to the ocean as soon as release permits
are obtained from APHIS. O’Barry has been
preparing the dolphins since August 10, when
they were moved from the former Ocean Reef
Club to the Sugarloaf Dolphin Sanctuary.
An extremely rare albino hump-
back whale has been seen twice off the coast
of Australia ––once in Hervey Bay,
Queensland, during summer, and lately near
Montague Island, below New South Wales.
Seal Watch 1995, a spring expedi-
tion to visit baby harp seals in the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, is promoted by the International
Fund for Animal Welfare and Natural Habitat
Adventures. Info: 1-800-543-8917.
Alaska Department of Fish and
Game official Larry Cotter recently reported
that fishing vessels dumped 335 million kilos
of edible fish overboard dead last year rather
than expend quotas on less lucrative species.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council
Rick Lauber said the figures, high as they
sound, were probably understated.
The first-ever observation of deep-
sea octopus sexual behavior captured on
videotape a 15-inch male octopus inserting his
copulatory arm into the mantle cavity of a six-
foot male octopus of a different species. “It
raises all sorts of questions about what is going
on down there,” said one of the two human
observers, Janet Voight of the Field Museum
of Natural History in Chicago. Fellow observ-
er Richard Lutz of Rutgers University thinks
the encounter may reflect a shortage of females
in the area. “He is making sure this is definite-
ly not a female of the same species before he is
ignoring the encounter,” said Lutz.
Eight months after the January 17
earthquake, a charcoal-colored, white-dotted
domino damselfish was found alive September
29 in his tank in a wrecked apartment
house––having had no food, no filtration, and
no human attention in the interim.
Alaskan environmental journalist
Tim Moffatt exposes the fallacies behind U.S.
support of “aboriginal” bowhead whale-killing
off the Arctic Slope in the fall 1994 issue of
the Friends of Animals magazine Act’ionLine,
$3.00, 777 Post Road, Darien, CT 06820.
The nonprofit Florida Marine
Conservation Corps is fundraising to build a
marine mammal hospital, rehabilitation center,
and research facility on Peanut Island, in Palm
Beach County near Lake Worth.
The National Marine Fisheries
S e r v i c e on September 30 convened the first
meeting of a task force appointed to consider
the Washington Department of Fish and
Wildlife’s application to kill sea lions at
Ballard Locks, who are accused of pushing
already endangered steelhead runs close to
extinction. Task force members opposed to
killing sea lions include representatives of
Earth Island Institute, the Humane Society of
the U.S., Greenpeace, and the Progressive
Animal Welfare Society.
The state of California has autho-
rized the sale of special license plates, yet to
be designed, to benefit the Monterey Bay
National Marine Sanctuary. The plates will be
issued when the Department of Motor
Vehicles receives 5,000 applications for them.
The National Academy of Sciences
reports that western Atlantic bluefin tuna
stocks are just 20% of what they were 20 years
ago, but have remained stable since 1988.