From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:
Norwegian government marine mammal management
advisor Lars Wallxe will advise increasing the unilaterally
declared Norwegian minke whaling quota from 425, the current
level, to circa 800-900, the newspaper Nordlands Framtid
reported on September 11. Norway is the only nation that currently
assigns itself a commercial whaling quota, but Iceland is
reportedly considering doing likewise.
Continuing to ignore the Norwegian violation of the
International Whaling Commission moratorium on commercial
whaling, U.S. IWC commissioner James Baker on September
12 formally protested the killing of two critically endangered
bowhead whales under a native subsistence quota unilaterally
assigned by Canada. U.S. aboriginals are allowed to kill 204
bowheads under a 1995 IWC quota running until 1998.
The Scottish Office of the British government o n
July 23 allowed Scots fishers to resume using monfilament gill
nets, after a decade of prohibition to protect salmon stocks.
Similar nets used by Danes kill about 7,000 harbour porpoises a
yet in the North Sea, and about 38% of the porpoises who wash
up dead along the British coast appear to be net victims. The
Institute of Offshore Engineering in Edinburgh is trying to
develop a warning device to keep porpoises away from the nets.
Bitten four times on July 23 by a great white shark
while trying to swim with five dolphins off Marsa Bereka in the
Red Sea, American/British dual national Martin Christopher
Richardson, 29, was saved when the dolphins––including a
calf––drove the shark away in a counterattack witnessed by passengers
and crew of the diving tender Jadran.
Pierre Beland, senior scientist for the St. Lawrence
National Institute of Ecotoxicology, predicts in his new book
Beluga: A Farewell to Whales that the beluga population isolated
in the Saguenay and St. Lawrence rivers by the last ice age
will soon die out due to pollution. About 5,000 belugas inhabited
the Saguenay/St. Lawrence region in 1900, but wrongly
blaming them for falling fish catches, the Quebec government
paid a bounty on belugas and pursued other means of killing
them from 1915 until 1939. They were not legally protected
until 1979. The population since then is estimated at 300 to 500;
180 have died pollution-related deaths since 1982.
Eighty-four trials of high-powered underwater
sonic equipment off Hawaii have shown no effects on whales,
says Cornell Bioacoustics Research program biologist Adam
Frankel. The findings may bring the go-ahead for the controversial
Scripps Institution of Oceanography ATOC experiment,
an attempt to measure global warming by the speed at which
sound travels through water, delayed since mid-1995 due to
concern about the possible impact on marine life.
Moving to protect northern right whales, now
numbering about 300 worldwide, the National Marine Fisheries
Service on July 22 ordered the Coast Guard to amend operations
to avoid ship/whale collisions, believed to have killed three
right whales earlier in the year, and on August 6 formed a Take
Reduction Team to seek ways of cutting the risk to right whales
and humpback whales from lobster trap lines. Since 1991, 12
whales have drowned after tangling in lobster trap lines.