3 Challenges Faced by Whales and Dolphins

By December 18, 2010Ocean News
Marine Mammal caught in a Net

Marine Mammal caught in a Net

Whales and dolphins are magnificent creatures and it seems as though you can find them everywhere in the Oceans…and according to many documentaries and tv shows, you would expect that these species are doing very well (as in they are very healthy). But that is not the case.

In recent years, we’ve witnessed revolutionary documentaries such as The Cove and Sharkwater. Each exposing major and brutal hunts on marine mammals and sharks. Now most of the world is aware of these terrible acts and action is taking place against shark fin soup in many cities around the world. So the movies are helping people save the Oceans, but there are more issues facing marine mammals and much action is required from us. The movie Whales and Dolphins help expose these issues which I describe below:

1) Entanglement in Nets – This problem is one of the biggest issues that is not as well known as we all think. Marine mammals (seals, dolphins, and whales) get caught in fishing nets set out to catch fish. The animals swim through the nets without knowing it and get them caught around their necks. It’s only a matter of time before the animal chokes to death. Old nets are even worse as no one comes back to pick up the nets so the animals have no chance to be saved.

2) Bioaccumulation – This is what I call the silent killer. Metals like mercury are found in marine mammals at very high levels. It’s difficult to see the effects of the metals on the exterior of the animal, but the impacts will eventually die from the metal poisoning. Where do the metals come from? Well, most of it comes from water pollution derived from land based sources. We need to figure out how to reduce our metal contaminants in our water that flows into the Ocean. I’m not sure how, but I am willing to hear your thoughts.

3) The Hunts – The ever so popular, and disturbing, hunts of marine mammals happens in Japan, Norway, Canada, and the South Pacific Ocean (among other places). There is a lot of controversy surrounding the hunts as well as pressure from environmental groups and advocates to stop the hunts as they are destroying species populations; not demanded by consumers; and, costs too much to conduct.

But don’t take it from me, just listen to Dr. Sylvia Earle, a well known Ocean Scientist and Ocean Leader.

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