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.
Following public outcry and representation from environmental groups, including WDC, the Wellington High Court in New Zealand has reversed a previous decision by the country's Environmental Protection Authority allowing up to 50 million tonnes of iron sand to be mined from a 66sq km area off the South Taranaki Bight for a 35 year period.
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.
Illegally nets from a Ukrainian fishing boat have killed nearly 50 porpoises off the Crimean coast.
The porpoises died after becoming entangled in almost six miles of nets and investigators believe that were deliberately targeted for illegal export.
The crew of the trawler named YaMK-0041 was detained and the captain faces up to five years in jail if convicted of poaching.
Last week, WDC took part in a two day workshop to help shape a “UK Dolphin and Porpoise Conservation Strategy”. We hope the strategy, once finalised will help to protect these species from bycatch, disturbance, pollution, noise and other pressures, individually as well as collectively.
The government in New Zealand is reviewing the use of commercial set nets (a type of gillnet that is attached to the seabed) after the deaths of five Hector's dolphins in one net in February. The incident took place off the Banks Peninsula off the east coast of the South Island. A complete ban on their use could now be proposed.
Unconfirmed reports on the plight of the vaquita suggest that no more than 12 now remain.
Vaquitas are the world’s smallest and one of the most endangered species of whale, dolphin or porpoise on the planet. Found only in Mexico’s northern Gulf of California, the population has declined by more than 75% in the past three years alone. In Spanish, vaquita means 'little cow' and many local people believe them to be 'mythical creatures' as most have never seen one and photographs, until recently, were lacking.
The whole of the European Parliament (751 MEPs) voted yesterday on new conservation measures for fisheries in EU waters. This included rules covering the accidental entanglement (or ‘bycatch’) of dolphins and porpoises.
A new report backed by WDC has been released today calling on the UK Government to turn words into action when it comes to the welfare of whales, dolphins and many other creatures.
The UK Government’s long awaited 25 Year Environment Plan for England was launched today and contains some optimistic comments regarding threats to whales and dolphins, but also some key omissions.