Consequences of fishing nets on Right whales

by krysisidore on April 23, 2018 - 1:21pm

This article is written by Deborah Cramer and has as a goal to explain to the readers the negative effects fishermen have on Right whales when they leave their fishing nets laying anywhere around in the oceans. The effects dealt on the Right whales are critical injuries that can lead to possible death, decline in the Right whale population, decrease in Right whale infants and negative psychological effects. Deborah uses a lot of statistics to explain her main point in her article. The reason this issue is so important is because, this specific type of whale species was potentially on the verge of extinction due to overfishing. They have been since repopulating, but at a considerably slow rate. Now with fishermen letting their fishing nets lie around in the ocean, many Right whales are getting caught in the nets. Places such as the Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy, where Right whales migrate for the summer, they enter into many collusions with lobster and snow crab traps. This is even happening here in Canada in our very own Gulf of St. Lawrence infested with snow-crab traps. Once caught in these trap, Right whales often suffocate and drown. Yes, marine animals under the proper horrific conditions can actually drown. If they do manage to escape from the traps, the whales are mostly likely to sub come later on to their injuries form the traps. For some female Right whales, their birthrate can drop as low as 40 percent. The reason is because female Right whales have an energy storage needed for pregnancy and nursing. When they get entangled in a fisher’s net, they waste that energy of trying to escape the nets. Deborah explains that female Right whales should give birth every three to four years. Now it has increased to every eight years and sometimes never. Solutions proposed by Deborah to decrease the amount of Right whale death is to reduce the ship strikes further away from the feeding ground of these whales. Second, is to eliminate gantlet of fishing line. It is proven that that lobstermen in Maine catch the same amount of lobsters with half of the used traps. And finally, the federal government and research institutions should in ways to create “rope less” technologies which would reduce the amount of ropes need in crab and lobster traps. 

 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/07/opinion/north-atlantic-right-whales-e...

Comments

I have decided to response to your article as I am very interested in whales. I am impressed on how strong the human impact is on the marine life. These whales were indeed on the verge of extinction and the fact that they get caught up in the nets of fishermen is a true problem. These previous are not directly chasing these whales but by chasing other species it impacts this one as well. Tis article made me think about all the indirect impacts that are sometimes forgotten and like this problem, would need further thoughts in order to solve them. Fishing is suppose to be for feeding ourselves and not to destroy many other species indirectly. I did not know that Right whales kept a certain amount of energy for pregnancy and nursing, consequently, by trapping them involuntary in the nets, they are not able to reproduce as much putting the specie at risk to fall into being on the verge of extinction again. However, on the brighter side what I like about this article is that it gives solutions to this problem, which is a really good thing. It gives us hope again that we can change small things that will not even disturb the amount of lobsters for example that are caught for our consumption but on the other hand, that will make a difference for the Right Whales. I my opinion, this article was very interesting and it made me realize new things.

I have decided to response to your article as I am very interested in whales. I am impressed on how strong the human impact is on the marine life. These whales were indeed on the verge of extinction and the fact that they get caught up in the nets of fishermen is a true problem. These previous are not directly chasing these whales but by chasing other species it impacts this one as well. Tis article made me think about all the indirect impacts that are sometimes forgotten and like this problem, would need further thoughts in order to solve them. Fishing is suppose to be for feeding ourselves and not to destroy many other species indirectly. I did not know that Right whales kept a certain amount of energy for pregnancy and nursing, consequently, by trapping them involuntary in the nets, they are not able to reproduce as much putting the specie at risk to fall into being on the verge of extinction again. However, on the brighter side what I like about this article is that it gives solutions to this problem, which is a really good thing. It gives us hope again that we can change small things that will not even disturb the amount of lobsters for example that are caught for our consumption but on the other hand, that will make a difference for the Right Whales. I my opinion, this article was very interesting and it made me realize new things.

I chose to respond to this article summary, as I had learnt quite a bit on different types of fishing, such as longlining and bottom trawling, two of which are quite dangerous to the marine life, prior to reading this. I had watched a documentary about bad fishing activity called “Sharkwater” whom Rob Stewart, a biologist, activist, and shark-lover, created, and thought this topic was one that was very interesting. With that said, as mentioned in the article you summarized, the author states that entanglements account for 85% of right whale deaths caused by humans; I do think this is a huge issue, as it is something that can easily be prevented. In addition to right whales, the most commonly entangled whale is the humpback whale. That being said, it was shown that California’s Dungeness crab commercial trap fishery was responsible for one third of entanglements, and this number has doubled since 2015 (Howell, 2017). As stated in your article, this can be prevented as lower-strength rope nets could be used whilst still being able to catch a significant amount of fish, crab, and lobster, as well as reducing the dangerous entanglements by 72%. Considering this, I do agree with Deborah Cramer, when she mentions that we should reduce ship strikes further and change the material we use to catch fish. Not only that, but I also agree that we must eliminate fishing lines, as they are lethal to many aquatic organisms who are caught by accident; although techniques like longline fishing have been banned, a large part of the fishing community still practice this illegal way of catching fish. Lastly, I think that implementing policies in the federal legal system would significantly help protect ocean wildlife and making trap fisheries more sustainable.

Howell, L. (2017) Whale entanglements skyrocket off the U.S. West Coast. Mongabay: News & Inspiration from Nature’s Frontline. Retrieved from https://news.mongabay.com/2017/06/whale-entanglements-skyrocket-off-the-...

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