Thursday, November 24, 2011

Whale Sharks as FADs?

Remember this video about bycatch?

Well, it gets worse.
This is so sick that I first thought that it was some urban legend - but the more I look, the more it appears to be true.
How utterly disgusting!

From Australia's Proposal to the WCPFC.

Whale sharks and cetaceans are particularly vulnerable to being encircled by purse seine nets, due to the propensity of tuna to form schools around whale sharks and baleen whales, or for toothed cetaceans to be attracted to the same prey as tunas.

Observers have recorded that 3.2% of purse seine sets are intentionally set on cetaceans or whale sharks, while logsheets only record such targeting as 0.2%.
Observer data also demonstrate that all other set types can encircle whale sharks and cetaceans unintentionally, with 60% of observed whale shark interactions occurring in sets classified as ‘unassociated’ (i.e. as free schools of tuna) and 38% of toothed cetacean interactions occurring around anchored FADs.

The paper concludes that: “It is clear that purse seine sets on whale sharks are a combination of both targeted sets and inadvertent capture".

Kudos to the Parties to the Nauru Agreement, or PNA.
They have already banned the practice and are now proposing a ban for the whole region. Since this is a proposal coming from fellow Pacific islanders and not dictated from outside, prospects for its adoption look good - that is, IF AND WHEN there will be a WCPFC meeting! Apparently Palau is experiencing severe power outages and the December 5-9 meeting has been cancelled.

Here's what you can do.
In line with their recommendations last year, Pew have started a petition aimed at convincing the US delegation to support the setting ban. And here is a similar petition by Greenpeace. And if you are a Pacific islander and have the usual contacts - how about some 1:1 talanoa and education!
This needs to be stopped!

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