Tag Archives: killer whales

In a Bering Sea battle of killer whales vs. fishermen, the whales are winning

In the Bering Sea, near the edge the continental shelf, fishermen are trying to escape a predator that seems to outwit them at every turn, stripping their fishing lines and lurking behind their vessels. The predators are pods of killer whales chasing down the halibut and black cod caught by longline fishermen. Fishermen say the whales are becoming a common sight — and problem — in recent years, as they’ve gone from an occasional pest to apparently targeting the fishermen’s lines. Fishermen say they can harvest 20,000 to 30,000 pounds of halibut in a single day, only to harvest next to nothing the next when a pod of killer whales recognizes their boat. The hooks will be stripped clean, longtime Bering Sea longliner Jay Hebert said in a phone interview this week. Sometimes there will be just halibut “lips” still attached to hooks — if anything at all. click here to read the story 07:35

Photo of the Day: Splitting the Catch

Whales in some parts of the world have learned to follow the noise and activity of fishing boats in order to catch any herring near them. When the boats’ nets begin to close, the whales recognize what’s happening and take the opportunity to cut off any herring escaping the nets as they close. It’s sometimes a beneficial relationship for both the whales and the people fishing. Fishermen often locate killer whales and humpbacks to find the schools of herring that reside near them: Photographer Audun Rikardsen captured this photograph in the Arctic water off of Norway. His equipment includes the Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a 11-24mm f/4 lens at 11mm, 1/200 of a second, f/6.3, ISO 640. Read the rest here 21:29

PAT NEAL: Whales’ boundless salmon appetite

orca_mealThen there are the many other toxic concerns to keep you awake at night, such as: Are your whales getting enough salmon? A recent article in the Peninsula Daily News (“Diet Decline: Smaller Chinook Mean Lighter Meals For Resident Orcas,” PDN, July 28) detailed the exhaustive research by legions of dedicated researchers who have detailed the declining diet of the orca, or killer whale. Scientists studying the orca fecal matter (yes this is a real job) have revealed that Southern Resident killer whales have evolved to consume a diet of king salmon or chinook in preference to all the other species. The current salmon famine is threatening the most important component of the whale-watching industry: whales. The scientists are quick to parade a list of the usual suspects — overfishing, habitat loss and climate change — while ignoring another common conundrum of concern: the destruction of one endangered species by another. Read the story here 12:37

Fishery closures suggested to save West Coast killer whales

Killer whale, British Columbia, CanadaStrategic fishery closures and marine habitat protection are part of a proposed plan by the federal government to protect the threatened killer whales off Canada’s West Coast. The recovery plan for the Northern and Southern Resident Killer Whale population has been set out online by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans with a 60-day public comment period. The document makes 94 recommendations to help the two distinct whale populations that eat only fish. The Northern Residents are listed as threatened in Canada, while the United States has declared its Southern Resident population endangered.  A team of experts from the federal Fisheries Department, Parks Canada, the Vancouver Aquarium and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States developed the plan between 2011 and 2014. Read the rest here 20:05

Fish win another water fight round in South San Joaquin Irrigation District

“Today’s federal court of appeals ruling upholds protections for salmon, steelhead trout, killer whales and other wildlife that rely on natural river flows in California’s Central Valley and a functioning delta to survive,” said John McManus, executive director for the fishing industry’s Golden Gate Salmon Association. Federal biologists in 2009 said water withdrawals from the delta were driving endangered killer whales off California closer to extinction by reducing salmon and other fish the killer whales depend on for food. Read the rest here 12:32

U.S. considers dropping bombs in ocean to scare whales from potential oil slicks

It’s called hazing and documents obtained by The Globe and Mail show the methods have been studied carefully by U.S. scientists before and since the disastrous Exxon Valdez oil spill killed 22 orcas in 1989.,,The response notes that NOAA has approved use of metal pipes called Oikomi pipes for noise and a kind of low-frequency bomb in the event of an oil spill, but Trans Mountain cautions: “No single deterrence technique will work in all situations.” Read more here 07:06