Japanese whaling fleet likely to pass through NZ waters

Wellington, Nov 15 - Japan's whaling fleet is likely to pass through New Zealand waters on its way south to hunt whales in the Ross Sea and later receive supplies from a New Zealand port, Greenpeace says.

Ecologist Cristina Mormorunni said the five-ship fleet, including a newly built whale catcher, left the Japanese port of Shimonoseki on November 6.

Its probable cruising track to the southern oceans whale sanctuary passes through New Zealand's 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

Oil spill threatens Chinese white dolphins

BEIJING (AP) An oil spill in south China has threatened the Chinese white dolphins, which already are on the verge of extinction in waters off Hong Kong.

The spill, which occurred when two ships collided Friday, left an oil slick about six miles long off the mouth of the Pearl River in Guangdong province, about three miles from the habitat of the white dolphins, the China Daily reported today.

The white dolphins near Hong Kong are actually pink. They're also found off South Africa and Australia, where their colors are blue, gray or green.

North Atlantic Right Whales under threat of Extinction

Despite efforts to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale, scientist this week said the whales' populations are still in grave danger of becoming extinct.

At a meeting of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission in South Portland, scientists
said that despite recent efforts to protect the right whale, death rates continue to climb.

Chairman of the Commission, John Reynolds says that fish net entanglements and collisions with ships remain the biggest threat to the right whale species.

Ben the orca is still alive - but in bad shape

The good news is that Ben - the orca who received worldwide attention after he stranded and was successfully rescued by NZ whale stranding experts, Project Jonah, in June 1997 - is still alive. The bad news is that he still has extremely serious injuries to his dorsal fin, believed to have been caused by entanglement by a rope or fishing line.

Death of 3 dolphins at India's first dolphinarium provokes ban on further imports.

As previously reported, all three bottlenose dolphins held captive at India's first dolphinarium ('Dolphin City', near Chennai, Madras) have died, only months after import. However, their premature deaths may not be in vain. Maneka Gandhi, Union Minister for Welfare (Animal Welfare Dept) responded to the news of the deaths by requesting that the Commerce Ministry should not permit the further import of animals such as dolphins and sealions. She has been assured that such import would not be permitted.

UK Government fails to enact Porpoise protection

WDCS has stepped up its efforts over the last few months to have a special area of conservation (SAC) declared for porpoises in the UK - in effect a marine reserve - and as required for this species by the European Habitats Directive. Other groups have also been supportive of this initiative. We have an especially good case for an area in south Wales.

In early October, we sent a letter (and a petition with some 12,000 signatures on it) in support of this to the relevant government office. This was the latest in a series of letters, reports and petitions sent.

EU grants for drift-netters

EU fisheries ministers have agreed on the amount which French, English and Irish fishermen will get when the ban on drift net fishing takes effect on 1 January 2002. Italian fishermen have been dealing with a restructuring plan since 1997.

Vessel owners will be given up to 295,000 ECU (one ecu = FRF 6.60) when they stop the activity, and 285,000 ECU to equip vessels with other gear. Fishermen will receive a grant of 20,000 to 50,000 ECU depending on whether they change jobs or retire.

Florida dolphinarium closes

WDCS received news of the imminent closure of Marineland (Florida) yesterday. The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida reported that Marineland's Board of Directors voted last week to close the 'Oceanarium' which currently holds 20 captive bottlenose dolphins. The primary reasons for the closure are low attendance, financial difficulties and the resulting inability to market it as a tourist attraction.

WDCS Cetacean Strandings report

The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society helps to co-ordinate whale and dolphin rescue in the United Kingdom by contributing the to the work of the UK's Marine Animal Rescue Coalition (MARC). The Coalition was founded in 1993 and MARC now provides a forum that brings together many different groups interested in rescue, including those with local, national and international remits.

Japanese whalers headed for Southern Ocean Sanctuary

A Japanese whaling fleet left Japan on the 6th November headed for the southern ocean whale sanctuary. The fleet included the Yushin Maru, the first new whaler built by Japan in 26 years.

Conservationists have accused Japan of catching whales in the whale sanctuary in an attempt to open that sanctuary for full-scale commercial whaling.

The southern ocean was declared a sanctuary area by the IWC in 1994. In April of this year, the Japanese fleet returned from the Antarctic with 438 minke whales.


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