Posted on September 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Feds consider changing manatee status from endangered to threatened
FRISCO — Gentle, slow-moving manatees are still facing serious threats from motorboats in Florida waterways and should continue be be listed as endangered, according to conservation advocates.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering down-listing manatees, but the move doesn’t make sense, considering that boat collisions are still the leading cause of death, as detailed in a new report issued by the Center for Biological Diversity.
The conservation group charges that federal and state officials have issued permits for thousands of new docks, boat ramps and piers without considering the cumulative effects on the marine mammals who favor the same near-shore waters used by Florida’s recreational boaters. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Florida, manatees, marine mammals | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 5, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Conservation works! Protective measures have helped restore blue whale populations in the eastern Pacific.
‘We think the California population has reached the capacity of what the system can take as far as blue whales’
FRISCO — Marine scientists say the population of California blue whales, living the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean from the equator up into the Gulf of Alaska, has rebounded to about 2,200 individuals, which may be near the historic pre-whaling level.
According to the new study, published the journal Marine Mammal Science, it’s the only population of blue whales known to have recovered from whaling after being nearly hunted to extinction.
“The recovery of California blue whales from whaling demonstrates the ability of blue whale populations to rebuild under careful management and conservation measures,” said Cole Monnahan, a University of Washington doctoral student in quantitative ecology and resource management and lead author of the paper. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, blue whales, California blue whales, marine mammals, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 22, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Seismic airgun testing poses a risk to marine mammals.
Marine mammals at risk off the East Coast
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — The fossil fuel industry’s use of seismic airgun testing to search for as-yet untapped offshore oil deposits could prove damaging to ocean species — especially marine mammals that depend on acoustic information.
Unless federal agencies use the best available science to design effective avoidance and mitigation strategies, thousands of dolphins and whales could be affected, including critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, with a dwindling population of only 500 individuals. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: endangered species, marine mammals, Oceana, seismic airgun testing | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 14, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
New satellite technology could help biologists getter more accurate estimates of whale populations NOAA photo.
New method could help with marine mammal conservation planning
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — After using satellite images to discover new emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica, scientists with the British Antarctic Survey said they’ve also been able to use similar technology to count whales.
Marine mammals are extremely difficult to count on a large scale and traditional methods, such as counting from platforms or land, can be costly and inefficient, so the new method could lead to breakthroughs in estimating populations of whales and other marine mammals. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: biodiversity, conservation, marine mammals, oceans, whales | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Whale is on the menu in some Iceland restaurants. bberwyn photo.
U.S. officials say whaling trade violates international conservation treaty
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Iceland may face trade sanctions after U.S. officials formally declared that the island nation’s whaling is undermining an international ban on commercial trade in whale products.
The declaration by U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell may have been spurred in part by Iceland’s December announcement that commercial whaling will continue for the next five years. As many as 154 endangered fin whales and 229 minke whales could be killed each year under Iceland’s self-allocated quotas which are set to run from 2014 to 2018.
Iceland killed 35 minke whales and 134 fin whales, massive animals second only to blue whales in size, during the 2013 whaling season. Whaling has deep cultural and economic roots in Iceland, and the fishing industry is by far the largest sector of the country’s economy, but wildlife and animal rights advocacy groups say it’s time for Iceland to rethink its whaling activities. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: CITES, Environment, Iceland, marine mammals, oceans, whaling | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Ocean conservation advocates say federal government must use new data on endangered North Atlantic right whales when it considers permits for fossil fuel exploration. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Conservation advocates call for expansion of protective zones and seasonal closures
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Endangered North Atlantic right whales may be more at risk from oil exploration than previously thought.
New research from Cornell University suggests the rare marine mammals are present throughout the year at varying distances off the coast of Virginia, putting them at risk from the acoustic impacts generated by seismic airguns — used to probe the ocean floor for oil and gas deposits. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, gas drilling, oil drilling | Tagged: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Cornell University, Environment, marine mammals, North Atlantic right whales, oceans, seismic airguns | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Lawsuit highlights potential impacts to marine mammals from sonar and underwater explosives
An orca and calf. Photo courtesy NOAA.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Conservation advocates say federal authorization of a five-year U.S. Navy plan for testing and training activities off Hawai‘i and Southern California doesn’t do nearly enough to protect marine mammals from the impacts of sonar noise and underwater explosions.
The plan acknowledges that the training could cause up 9.6 million instances of harm to whales and dolphins and other marine mammals. The use of active sonar and explosive are known to cause permanent injuries and deaths to marine mammals.
According to the lawsuit filed this week Hawai‘i federal court, the plan violates federal environmental laws. The National Marine Fisheries Service didn’t evaluate alternative plans that would have required the Navy to avoid biologically important areas, the conservation groups said in a press release. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: marine mammals, ocean conservation, oceans, sonar | Leave a comment »