As mentioned in our recently released Wasted Catch report, whales, dolphins, porpoises and other marine life are victims of bycatch, which is the catch of non-target fish and marine animals. Whales can become entangled in nets or trail fishing lines and gear that wraps around their fins, causing injuries and distress as the animals struggle to swim and reach the surface for air.
The United Nations recently released a report on the impacts of global climate change, which describes the effects as “severe, pervasive and irreversible.”
The Gulf coast of Florida is renowned for its soft white beaches, balmy weather and calm, clear waters. It’s also infamous for being a mecca of debris from oil-rig related tragedies, which, until recently, were thought to have mostly finished their attack on Gulf coast beaches. But even after four years, trash from the BP oil disaster is still washing ashore and devastating coastal environments and communities.
Yesterday, sharks received a huge victory when a federal district court upheld a California law that prohibits the possession and sale of shark fins throughout the state. California’s 2011 law was originally challenged by a group of shark fin dealers and retailers who claimed the ban was discriminatory and in violation of federal law. The court ruled against all claims in the suit, specifically ruling that the law did not violate the Constitution’s Equal Protection and Commerce Clauses, and that the law was not preempted by federal fisheries law.
Atlantic fisheries kill hundreds of loggerhead sea turtles every year, as turtles are caught as bycatch and become trapped or drown in nets. This killing, however, can easily be avoided. There are known, proven solutions to this problem, like requiring more vessels to use turtle excluder devices (TEDs). But federal agencies continue to ignore the problems at hand and allow fisheries to operate in harmful ways.