Whales, Dolphins, Salmon and Dams – Great News!

The best “feel good” item told about the successful response to the entanglement of an Arabian Sea humpback whale.

Just when I start becoming very discouraged about the total lack of interest regarding whales and ocean health in general since Covid has reared its ugly face, I seem to receive heart-warming communications. It’s always enough to enliven me for days if not weeks to come.

Just yesterday I received a truly nice, hand-written thank you note from Joseph Bogaard of the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition located in Washington State. I do my best to help support this and other northwest groups engaged in the fight to save wild salmon…and “wild whales”…and to restore the sad captive ones back to freedom. Receiving Joseph’s note when I did was a terrific boon to my flagging hopes of relocating once again to the Pacific Northwest where I lived for over 50 years. (Yes, I know. I can hardly believe I’m that old!) Joseph and the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition were early joiners of our JUST ONE THING Alliance. Then, like magic, a message from our realtor followed today suggesting an offer for our home might soon be in the works.

There’s more: to top things off, I received communication from the International Whaling Commission today with updates on whale related topics of interest.

Photo of Elwa Dam by Seattle Times

As for the wild salmon issue, since Washington State has torn  down a few dams (and have more dams on the drawing board for destruction) salmon miraculously seem to be showing up, navigating the now free-flowing rivers long blocked off. And in the not too distant future, Oregon and California have agreed to tear down some dams that will also help promote salmon restoration along with Native American rites.

Photo by John Boyd

As for the IWC, their work is so incredibly important. For example, in September (2020) the Conservation Committee met (virtually) to discuss the management plan for South American river dolphins as well as a plan to mitigate measures regarding bycatch of cetaceans. Many seabirds, turtles and sharks are subject to being caught in fishing nets and traps. There is now growing awareness and concern to protect marine mammals. “Measures for reducing bycatch include spatial closures, the use of acoustic deterrents or alerting devices, modifications to fishing gear, and changes in fishing operations” along with “awareness-raising.” I think sometimes devastation ecological things happen  because people are simply not aware that what they are doing is deadly for whales, fish, and other sea creatures..

Finally, the best “feel good” item told about the successful response to the entanglement of an Arabian Sea humpback whale. Many groups came together (the Oman Environmental Authority, Five Oceans Environmental Services, LLC and Future Seas Global SPC) to free a humpback whale from entanglement in a gill net. (IMO net fisheries absolutely must be abolished.) This particular humpback species is in extreme danger of extinction, largely due to ship strikes, fishing bycatch, and other threats.

So, I’ve had happy, inspiring news, and I’m also still covid-free. Who can ask for more nowadays?

Open Letter to the IWC (International Whaling Community)

Before a person finishes reading this blog, more than a thousand pounds of plastics is dumped into the ocean.

Dear Sir,

Thank you so much for the recent IWC minutes/report. Although I am not a member of any particular IWC committee, I am deeply interested in preserving the oceans, whales and sea life. I may currently live in Arizona, but I spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest and still spend months at a time there on our small tugboat.

Last year we published Saving Our Oceans. There is a chapter in the book about the IWC and your organization is mentioned several times throughout. Unfortunately, due to all the brouhaha over Covid-19 and the uprising in the United States over “police brutality” this book has not sold as well as hoped and anticipated. (The funds from the book are earmarked for the Friday Harbor Whale Museum and for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition.) It has been an eye-opening realization for me that most people don’t really seem to care all that much about whales, ocean pollution, etc. In fact, before a person finishes reading this blog, more than a thousand pounds of plastics is dumped into the ocean. The people who do care seem to be intensely concerned, but these people wouldn’t need to read the book – they already know the issues.

The apathy of many people toward the ocean is understandable. Even though the Saving Our Oceans was written to introduce people to the issues of plastic pollution and the slow death of the ocean and its inhabitants, people who do not live by the sea have their own problems to deal with. People who live in Kansas or Oklahoma might care, but they have their state’s immediate issues.  Other topics are also covered in the book, from plastic pollution and the failure of recycling, to dying aquifers around the globe, fresh water pollution, the Rights of Nature movement, the Southern Resident Pod of Orcas, etc. 

I was extremely disturbed to read that the Japanese withdrew from membership from the IWC and are continuing to slaughter whales. Disgraceful and barbaric. Their dolphin massacres are totally shameful. So is the captivity of orcas. It’s beyond belief that so-called “civilized” people do these things. 

Again, thank you for your information.

Sincerely,

Becky Coffield