86 Percent of Dolphins and Whales Threatened by Fishing Nets

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86 Percent of Dolphins and Whales Threatened by Fishing Nets

[Ed. Note: Want to save wild whales and dolphins? Stop eating ALL sea life! Go vegan.]

By Jeremy Hance on News.MongaBay.com
March 2010

A new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) finds that almost 9 out of 10 toothed whales—including dolphins and porpoises—are threatened by entanglement and subsequent drowning from large-scale fishing operations equipment, such as gillnets, traps, longlines, and trawls. These operations threaten the highest percentage (86 percent) of the world's toothed whales.

"During the International Year of Biodiversity, the Convention on Migratory Species continues to address major threats such as by-catch, ship strikes, ocean noise impacts and climate change to safeguard these charismatic marine mammals," said UNEP and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Executive Secretary Elizabeth Mrema.

Living throughout the globe in both marine and freshwater habitats, many toothed whales remain mysterious to scientists. The report concludes that 41 of the known 71 toothed whales are so little-known that researchers are not certain if they are threatened of not.

Lack of food and changes in diets due to overfishing by humans currently threatens 13 species, while 14 species are threatened by collisions with ships. The ingestion of plastic and other pollutants have been reported in a total of 48 species (nearly 70 percent).

Currently six species are considered on the edge of extinction. The most threatened is the vaquita with only 100-150 individuals left in the Bay of California. The baiji, once abundant in the Yangtze River, is considered extinct.