Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fisheries, Not Whales, To Blame For Shortage Of Fish

Date:
June 30, 2008
Source:
World Wildlife Fund
Summary:
The argument that increasing whale populations are behind declining fish stocks is completely without scientific foundation, leading researchers and conservation organizations said as the International Whaling Commission opened its 60th meeting in Santiago, Chile.

Harpoon on the bow of a whale hunting ship. The Humane Society International, WWF and the Lenfest Ocean Program have presented three new reports debunking the science behind the ‘whales-eat-fish’ claims emanating from whaling nations Japan, Norway and Iceland.
Credit: iStockphoto/Chris Overgaard

The argument that increasing whale populations are behind declining fish stocks is completely without scientific foundation, leading researchers and conservation organizations said today as the International Whaling Commission opened its 60th meeting in Santiago, Chile.

Related Articles


The Humane Society International, WWF and the Lenfest Ocean Program today presented three new reports debunking the science behind the ‘whales-eat-fish’ claims emanating from whaling nations Japan, Norway and Iceland. The argument has been used to bolster support for whaling, particularly from developing nations.

“It is not the whales, it is over-fishing and excess fishing capacity that are responsible for diminishing supplies of fish in developing countries,” said fisheries biologist Dr. Daniel Pauly, director of the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre.

“Making whales into scapegoats serves only to benefit wealthy whaling nations while harming developing nations by distracting any debate on the real causes of the declines of their fisheries.”

Who’s eating all the fish? The food security rationale for culling cetaceans, the report co-authored by Dr Pauly for the Humane Society International contrasts “the widely different impacts of fisheries and marine mammals” with fisheries targeting larger fish where available and marine mammals consuming mainly smaller fish and organisms.

“The decline of the mean trophic levels of fisheries catch over the past 50 years is a signature of fishing down marine food webs and leaves marine mammals exonerated,” the report said.

The report also probes the culling whales increases food security for the poor argument by examining the final destination of catches of coastal fisheries in the South Pacific, Caribbean and West Africa. With less than half the catch going to domestic markets and the majority “gravitating toward the markets of affluent developed countries, one can speak of fish migrating from the more needy to the less needy”.

Also presented to the IWC Scientific Committee was the preliminary results into analysis of the interaction between whales and commercial fisheries in north west Africa. The modeling, funded by the Lenfest Ocean Program, shows no real competition between local or foreign fisheries and great whales.

The whales spend only a few months in the area during their vast seasonal migrations, eat relatively little while breeding and tend to consume fundamentally different types of food resources than the marine species targeted by both local and foreign fisheries. Inserting modelling assumptions to presume that whales are not breeding in the area and eat species important to the fishing industry still fails to show whales are a significant source of competition to fishing.

Also released today is review of the scientific literature originating from Japan and Norway - the two countries most strongly promoting the idea that whales pose problems for fisheries. The review, funded by WWF, found significant flaws in much of the science and concluded that “where good data are available, there is no evidence to support the contention that marine mammal predation presents an ecological issue for fisheries.”

Dr. Susan Lieberman of WWF said “These three reports provide yet more conclusive evidence that whales are not responsible for the degraded state of the world’s fisheries. It is now time for governments to focus on the real reason for fisheries decline – unsustainable fishing operations.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by World Wildlife Fund. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

World Wildlife Fund. "Fisheries, Not Whales, To Blame For Shortage Of Fish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080629144231.htm>.
World Wildlife Fund. (2008, June 30). Fisheries, Not Whales, To Blame For Shortage Of Fish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080629144231.htm
World Wildlife Fund. "Fisheries, Not Whales, To Blame For Shortage Of Fish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080629144231.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins