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California passes legislation to end use of harmful driftnets in fishery

A bill to phase out the use of drift gillnets (driftnets) off the California coast passed the California state legislature and was signed into law on September 27!  The new law implements a buyback program for driftnet permits and helps the fishery transition to more sustainable methods, including deep-set buoy gear, a system specifically designed to catch swordfish while reducing unintentional deaths of other marine species. 

Plans for new plastic 'eating' ship are revealed

Design plans for a new eco-yacht that collects plastic from the ocean and recycles it into fuel have been unveiled in Southampton.

The £40million 'Ocean Saviour' has been specially designed to scoop up five tonnes of plastic pollution each day, which is then recycled into fuel that will power the vessel itself.

Oldest dolphin held captive dies after spending 47 years in a tank

Moby, the oldest dolphin held in captivity died today at the Nuremberg Zoo, Germany.

Moby, who was thought to be around 58 years old, had been held in captivity since 1971. The exact cause of death is not known at present but further details may be released by the zoo following investigations.

Throughout much of his life, Moby could be seen swimming in the same pattern around his tank, a sign of stereotypic behaviour often seen in intelligent, wide-ranging marine mammals like dolphins when they are held in captivity for long periods.

Japan’s attempts to remove the international ban on commercial whale hunting defeated

Japan’s hopes of overturning the 32-year-old ban on commercial whale hunting by changing current international regulations have been defeated following a vote at the International Whaling Commission (the body that regulates whale hunting) in Brazil today.

Japan’s proposal had been seen as one of the most dangerous threats to the ban on whaling and the future of whales for many years, bringing back large scale whaling and ending one of the biggest successes in conservation history. 

Proposal to create a whale sanctuary in the South Atlantic is defeated at whaling meeting

A proposal to establish a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary (SAWS) has failed to be ratified at International Whaling Commission (IWC – the body that regulates whale hunting), which is  meeting in Brazil this week.

The sanctuary would prevent whale hunting and encourage research and economic opportunities for local communities in the South Atlantic, but it failed to pass with a 61% majority voting against it, and despite the IWC’s own Scientific Committee already giving the plan its backing.

WDC joins new project helping to prevent whale and dolphin entanglement in fishing gear

WDC has joined up with other organisations to help with a new research project looking into the problem of marine mammal entanglement in fishing gear in Scottish waters, which has just been launched.

The first of its kind in Europe, the Scottish Entanglement Alliance (SEA) brings together fishing industry representatives, researchers and conservation and welfare charities to assess the scale and impact of the issue.

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