Fishermen from Alaska heading for the Bering Sea are having to cope with pods of orcas feeding on their catch before it can be hauled onboard.
WDC is extremely concerned to hear that the authorities in Russia have given the go-ahead for up to 10 orcas to be captured this year from its Pacific region, just two months after it appeared to have been set at zero.
According to a draft order from the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, an orca ecotype known as Bigg’s (or transient) orcas, who roam across vast areas in the waters of Russia’s Far East will be given their own entry in the Russian Red Book – a document that lists rare and endangered species.
Four orcas, including a young calf, who had become trapped in ice near Sakhalin Island just metres from the shoreline have been successfully freed. Rescuers, along with volunteers from the local community, worked together to break up the ice and initially two females and a calf were able to escape. The team then had to wait for a high tide and worked through the night to help the remaining male orca, who the team had named "Willie", to escape the ice. He was eventually escorted out to deeper ice-free water.
On the orca and beluga capture front in Russia, things have gone from bad to worse in recent months. Four orcas were reported captured this past summer in the Okhotsk Sea, three of them now thought to be in China, and the orca quotas have been reallocated at 10 per year despite all the evidence warning against any quota decision until essential research is carried out.
What now for Russian orcas?
Eight killer whales have been taken from the wild in the Russian Far East in the last year, seven of them since August. They are being held in small pools near Vladivostok and are awaiting their fate.