Whales, fishing nets and seismic blasting.
MK Nature Design has become aware that the USA are putting into effect limitations for foreign seafood fishermen that use nets or line that can entangle whales or dolphins! She is also aware that seismic blasting is affecting whales.
The USA is banning imports of fish from companies that are not taking into consideration whales and dolphins in their bycatch (NRDC, August 11, 2016). Bycatch means that the whales and dolphins are caught by mistake. Often they are thrown back into the sea/ocean in an injured state. Since 1973, the Marine Mammal Protection Act has been requiring that the companies that export to the US meet US standards in protecting whales and dolphins. After much work the government is finally putting in place regulations that will help protect the whales and dolphins. US fishermen modify their gear and avoid marine mammal hotspots to protect whales and dolphins and now foreign fishermen will have to do the same if they want to sell their catch to the US. For more information read this article.
Canada has the Marine Mammals Regulation under the Fisheries Act (Fishery and Oceans Canada). This regulation doesn’t allow a whale or other marine mammal to be disturbed. There are fines up to $100,000 or prison up to a year for breaking this regulation. Canada stopped all commercial whaling in 1972. In 1982 the International Whaling Commission declared a moratorium on whaling. However there is not much published on the bycatch of whales or dolphins during fishing. More information can be found with this link.
A petition to stop seismic blasting in the Canadian arctic to protect the whales is listed below.
Five ways that seismic blasting can affect whales is by hearing loss, a freeze and sink response, ice entrapment, stopping of whale songs and stress (Greenpeace Sept 4, 2015). Whales can experience temporary or permanent hearing loss since the blasts are so loud. This directly affects their life since they navigate, communicate and search for food by sound or echolocation. Echolocation means they emit a sound, wait until it is reflected by an object in the water, listen for the echo and then locate the object that way. Narwhals don’t tend to flee due to noise but rather freeze and sink which results to them being exposed to blasts over and over again. Seismic blasting is thought to have disrupted the migration of a group of narwhals which resulted in them being trapped under the ice and in their death. Whales are known to reduce singing or stop altogether when there are seismic blasts and this is the way they communicate. Seismic blasting has been proven to cause stress in belugas. Increased stress in a whale can compromise the immune system and deteriorate health in general. More information can be found here.
Please sign the petition and help stop seismic blasting in the Canadian arctic!
If you liked this article please comment below or on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear from you. I have become aware that readers appreciate my art posts a lot. I will therefore try to post a painting with relevance with any posts about the environment that I can. Sometimes though I won’t have a painting with relevance to the post so please bear with me. The attached pastel painting is a humpback whale done in 2015. I am passionate about the environment as well as nature and art. Have a good week!