Mass graveyard ... more whales flock to suicide beach
By ANDREW DARBY in Hobart
The latest whales to fall victim to Tasmania's stranding graveyards lay tangled together on a remote beach yesterday while scientists groped for explanations.
The tragic sight of 65 dead pilot whales in the beach wash at Rheban, about 70 kilometres east of Hobart, replaced weekend elation raised by the rescue of as many whales again in an acclaimed volunteer effort.
Japan spends 8.7 million on new industrial whaling boat
In the depths of an economic recession and despite a 12 year old ban on commercial whaling, Japan has just spent 1.7 billion yen (8.7 million) on a new pelagic (high seas) whaling boat. The 720 ton vessel, which will carry up to 17 crew, is intended to replace one of its three "scientific research" vessels, used to kill up to 440 whales each year in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary and the North Pacific.
An orca calf stranded on rocks at the Hutt River mouth, Wellington, NZ, was rescued by passers-by last night (18th October). Yachtsman, Ian Burgess, was with a group who spotted the 2-3m long killer whale calf on rocks. It was squealing and trying to free itself but waves whipped up by galeforce winds were driving it against the rocks, he said. Another larger orca, presumably its mother, was seen swimming offshore.
Wellington, NZ, Oct 18th - Searchers were today treated to a rare sighting of a blue whale, the largest animal in the world, while trying to find an injured killer whale in Northland waters.
Orca researcher, Ingrid Visser (whose work studying orcas off NZ is well-known to WDCS supporters) has been looking for an orca, called Ben, who suffered a split dorsal fin and rope scars on his body after becoming entangled in a rope or net.
Hobart, Oct 18 AAP - Reports state that 'Several pilot whales were being taken 20km by truck in a major rescue operation in southern Tasmania today. About 100 pilot whales have been stranded in shallows since yesterday morning.
Initially, 56 came ashore at Marion Bay, about 50km east of Hobart yesterday morning'.
Initial reports indicated that 21 whales had died but the rest had been guided back to deep water where they joined their pod.
'About 50 of the pod then entered a narrow entrance to the adjacent Blackmans Bay.
In early October 1998, Icelandic Fisheries Minister Thorsteinn Palsson announced in Parliament that he would not be proposing to allow commercial hunting of large whales or minke whales in the next year. He also reported that the Fisheries Ministry is reviewing a request from the Marine Research Institute to conduct research on the economic consequences of not exploiting whale stocks, particularly minke whales, and the effects on fish stocks.
The Journal Science today reported that orcas in Alaska have changed their feeding patterns to include sea otters.
The study claims that otter populations have declined by some 90 percent in the areas that have been studied.
Normally the killer whales prey on local sea lions and seals but starting in the late 1980s, the sea lion and seal population crashed and is now about a 10th of its original levels.
The study suggests that deprived of their normal food, killer whales turned to the sea otter.
The following e-mail has been posted on the Sea Shepherd website
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 05:09:56 -0400
From: julie creek
Subject: FW: Makah
Sender: julie creek
To: "'Eric Dickman'"
From: Dr Ray Gambell, Secretary to the Commission
International Whaling Commission
The Red House, 135 Station Road
Histon, Cambridge, UK, CB4 4NP
US - October 14, 1998 EXPEDITION MAY HAVE FOUND SUNKEN WHALING SHIPS
Scientists may have found remnants of one of the greatest shipping disasters in history buried deep in the mud on the floor of the Chikchi Sea off the northwestern coast of Alaska. Images recorded by a remotely operated camera during a recent expedition showed the outlines of at least two ships that sank more than a century ago.