conservazione delfini nel mondo

Spero interessi

Alessandro Gimona

Excerpts from "Delphinpost 4/99" - quarterly journal of German Dolphin
 Conservation Society (Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine GRD, München)
 "Save the Last Adriatic Dolphins"
 New GRD Conservation Project in Croatia

 About 220 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) live along the Croatian
 coast of the Adriatic Sea, from Rijeka at the head of the Gulf of Quarnero
 to Dubrovnik down to Montenegro. They are the last dolphin population to
 have survived in the entire Adriatic. This figure is critical. A minor
 disturbance in the ecological balance or a disease, such as the Morbilli
 virus which killed about 5,000 dolphins in the Mediterranean Sea in the
 90s, suffices to wipe out this population. Other threats, such as fishing
 nets, deliberate killing by fishermen for alleged food competition, or
 high-speed boats and jetskies put the survival of these marine mammals at
 Together with a group of scientists and students from the Veterinary
 Faculty of Zagreb University, GRD wants to save the last Adriatic dolphins
 from extinction and protect their habitat.
For about 15 years, Prof. Hrvoje Gomercic, Professor of anatomy, histology,
 and embryology at the Veterinary Faculty of Zagreb University, has been
 collecting information - mostly through necropsies - about dolphins. Not
 least thanks to his efforts, dolphins have been under legal protection
 since 1995. Nonetheless, their numbers are on the decline: in the early
 nineties their population was estimated to be about 300. With enforcement
 lacking, several dolphins still die each year in fishing nets or through
 dynamite used by fishermen.
     Other species which once were abundant in this area have become mostly
 extinct. Only rarely can one spot common dolphins (Delphinus delphis),
 striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), or Risso's dolphins (Grampus
 griseus). Another marine mammal, the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus
monachus), has vanished in the Adriatic Sea in spite of a protection act in
 force since 1935. This shows that laws alone do not guarantee the survival
 of a species.

 Establishment of Sanctuaries
 To save the last Adriatic dolphins from extinction, we want to achieve the
establishment of one or several sanctuaries where fishing activities, motor
 boats, jetskies and the like are prohibited. To this end, regular
 monitoring and photo identification is necessary to identify the feeding
 and breeding grounds of the Adriatic dolphins and determine the health of
the population. Only on the basis of such data will the Croatian government
 create the urgently needed dolphin sanctuaries.
Additionally, we want to increase awareness among locals, politicians, and tourists of the need for protecting dolphins and their environment. This is
 to be done by means of multi-language posters and flyers, and awareness
 raising campaigns, for example, at schools and fishery associations.
Another object is the rescue of marine mammals which get lost in the bays
 or rivers or have stranded alive.
For the project to be carried out within the required scope including the
 necessary field and rescue work and the awareness raising activities, GRD
 supports this important dolphin conservation project with money and
 equipment. Now is a good time to act since nature conservation issues can
 be addressed while industry and tourism, which have been destroyed during
 the war, are beginning to grow again. But we need to act fast. This small
 population of bottlenose dolphins might not be able to much longer
 withstand the increasing threats from fishing, tourism, marine pollution,
 and exploitation of food resources.
 Ulrike Kirsch and Ulrich Karlowski

 The bottlenose dolphins living along the Croatian coast are the last ones
 to have survived in the Adriatic Sea. Without appropriate protective
measures their end is foreseeable. Still, there is a chance of saving them.
 We need your support in our efforts to protect the dolphins and their
 habitat in the Adriatic Sea! Donations indicating "Adriatic Dolphins" will
 be used to finance this new GRD project.

  Peruvian dolphins: What's going on?
 Julio C. Reyes, ACOREMA Peru

 In a previous article in Delphinpost, we summarised the situation of
 Peruvian dolphins in the years before 1996, when a Dolphin Protection Law
 came into force, and how little effect this regulation had in stopping
fishermen from killing dolphins for human food. A recent survey of 33 ports
 along the Peruvian coast has revealed that still hundreds of dolphins and
porpoises are dying in fishing nets or through harpoons. The enforcement of
 regulations is difficult mostly because the people in charge are ignorant
 of or not interested in the legislation. Dolphin meat is sold openly in
 some fishing ports and city markets, while in other places the presence of
 the authority makes fishermen and middlemen trade dolphin products
 undercover - a black market of unknown dimensions. Sadly, even some of the
 bottlenose dolphins which are the subject of behavioural studies off the
 Pisco coastline are being the target of fisheries: up to seven dolphins,
 with no doubt coastal animals of the resident group, have been found
 butchered along the shores that ACOREMA researchers use to study dolphin
 movements and behaviour. Among the dead animals there was a pregnant
 female. The meat of all dolphins had been removed to be sold at Pisco and
 San Andrés, the nearby towns.
ACOREMA is preparing a report to be handed to the Ministry of Fisheries,
 summarising our observations on illegal captures of dolphins, with
 recommendations for strict enforcement. Meanwhile, we continue our
 investigation, with the hope that we can help dolphins to make their life
 in Peruvian waters.

 Thanks to your help, dear friends, we were able to provide ACOREMA with DM
 4,000 (about $ US 2,000) last Christmas. Please continue to support this
 important project. Donations to our account 109 138 388, Stadtsparkasse
Munich should indicate "Peru Dolphins". Thank you for support! Your GRD team. ****************************************************************************

  Tour Operators Boycott Horror Dolphinarium

 Unscrupulous business men operate one of the world's most appalling
 dolphinariums in the Dominican Republic, a vacationers' paradise. Together
 with WDCS (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society), we launched a massive
 protest action. Additionally, GRD convinced German tour operators such as
 LTU, Kreutzer-Touristik, Neckermann, TUI, and their associated companies,
 to boycott the "horror dolphinarium". Yet, this did not prevent the Manati
 Park Bavaro operators from importing two dolphins in October 1999, which
 were captured off the Cuban coast. Seven bottlenose dolphins are presently
 vegetating in a tiny concrete pool. The authorities in charge insist on
 keeping dolphins in the Dominican Republic, whatever the cost. Corruption,
which is allegedly widespread even at highest levels, seems to play a major
 role. This makes effective action against Manati Park extremely difficult.
 The authorities of the Dominican Republic continue to stand by and watch
 this cruelty to dolphins. Together with WDCS we have therefore launched a
 large media campaign addressing the appalling conditions in the
 dolphinarium and called upon tourists to boycott Manati Park. We will
 continue this campaign until declining numbers of visitors force the
 operators to negotiate.

  GRD Protest against Japanese Dolphin Hunt
 We urged Japanese Prime Minister, Keizo Obuchi, and other authorities in
charge, to immediately stop the capture of dolphins and the sale of dolphin
 meat. Early October last year, 69 bottlenose dolphins were killed in Futo
 Port and six captured to be sold to two dolphinariums. In this so-called
 "Futo Port Drive Fishery" fishermen drive dozens of dolphins into a bay
where the animals are brutally slaughtered for meat or captured alive to be
 sold to dolphinariums.

  Commercial Exploitation of Small Cetaceans on the Increase
A growing number of dolphinariums and direct hunting has led to a worldwide
 increase in the commercial exploitation of dolphins and other small
 cetaceans, mostly involving the death of these animals. Since most of the
 small cetaceans are listed on Annex II of CITES, which allows the
 controlled trade, the capture of these marine mammals cannot generally be
 prohibited. Dolphinariums are mushrooming in many countries. Wild dolphins
are captured for these facilities with mostly appalling keeping conditions,
 where they die like flies. Current GRD action alerts include protests
 against the capture of dolphins for dolphinariums in Colombia, Chile, the
 Oarai Aquarium in Japan, and two traveling circuses (!) in Saudi Arabia.
 The one in Santiago de Chile involves the disputed dolphin therapy, which
clever business men have discovered as a lucrative source of money. Similar
 facilities are planned in France and the Ukraine.
Another small cetacean species which has recently made the headlines is the
 Beluga whale. Last September, Russian whalers started the hunt of a
 targeted 200 belugas in the Sea of Okhotsk to export their meat to Japan.
 The first 20 tons of whale meat arrived in Japan on September 10, 1999.
 Nine animals were captured alive and sold to the Canadian Marineland Park.
 Unfortunately, the Canadian government has not yet decided on whether to
 ban the capture and import of marine mammals requested by GRD and North
American organisations. After an international protest action, in which GRD
 actively participated, the Russian government stopped the capture of the
According to GRD, it is high time that the International Whaling Commission
 also took charge of all small cetacean species. Additionally, locally
 threatened populations should be listed on Annex I of CITES. This would at
 least create a framework for putting an end to the capture and hunt for
 commercial purposes on an international level.

  German Whale Sanctuary
 The Schleswig-Holstein parliament decided to establish a sanctuary off the
 Amrum and Sylt islands to protect harbour porpoises, the only whales to be
 found along German coasts. In this part of the North Sea, the harbour
 porpoises rear their offspring. Outside the sanctuary, these marine
 mammals, which grow up to 1.8 meter in length, are facing threats from
 overfishing and gill nets. High noise levels caused by jetskies and
 high-speed ferries pose additional threats to the raising of the young
ones. The establishment of a sanctuary prevents such massive disturbance in
 the cetaceans' nursery.

  EU Fishing Fleet Causes Overfishing
 A far too large EU fishing fleet is the main culprit for overfished EU
 waters, but also other areas, such as the waters off Argentina and West
Africa. According to WWF, 60 % of the precious fish populations, e.g. North Sea codfish or Baltic Sea salmon, are overfished worldwide, or are about to
 reach this state. Recognizing the necessity of reducing the fleets, the EU
 has provided billions of subsidies in its present fishery program
 (1994-1999) for such a reduction. However, simultaneously the EU provides
 similarly high funds for building and modernizing fishing vessels. In
Germany, the ship building and modernizing costs -- more than DM 56 million
 (about $ US 28 million) -- have so far been almost five times the amount
 for reducing the fleet. New or modernized ships increase the overcapacity,
 which, in turn, puts more pressure on the already overfished populations.
 The EU's double financing renders the reduction programs absurd. Not only
 is such a policy a waste of tax money, it also endangers the long-term
 profitability of the fishing fleets.

 South Africa Wants to Capture Wild Dolphins
 German Dolphin Conservation Society (GRD) has urged South African Minister
for Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Valli Moosa, to refuse the grant
 of a permit to Port Elizabeth Museum to capture wild dolphins for their
 Oceanarium. "The capture of wild dolphins disrupts the wild population and
 puts the animals under enormous stress. Many dolphins are likely to die,"
says a GRD spokesperson. 27 dolphins have already died during capture or in
 the Port Elizabeth Dolphinarium.
 In May 1998, the non-profit Oceanarium, which belongs to Port Elizabeth
Museum, announced its plans to capture wild dolphins, triggering a storm of
 protest among animal welfare and conservation organisations. Above all,
 they critized the poor keeping conditions: in 1995, three dolphins died
 within a short space of time, a female dolphin and her son are left.
 According to the director, Sylvia Van Zyl, about three to four bottlenose
 dolphins are to be captured to establish a breeding group.
 Initially it seemed that the Oceanarium officials were at least willing to
settle for a compromise and acquire captive dolphins from other facilities,
 rather than capturing wild ones. However, for reasons of costs, they
 decided otherwise. The entire capture operation will cost about about $ US
 60,000, while buying a single dolphin already in captivity would cost
 between about $ US 40,000 and 60,000, excluding transportation expenses.
 Port Elizabeth Dolphinarium claims to have moved away from pure
entertainment shows towards presentations of educational nature. "We wonder
 about the educational value in disrupting a dolphin population to display
 the animals in desolate concrete pools, in particular in a country like
 South Africa where you can watch wild marine mammals right on your
 doorstep," says GRD.

 U.S. Government Sued for Mass Killing of Dolphins
 Ten nature conservation organisations have filed suit in the US district
 court of San Francisco to stop the so-called "Dolphin Death Act." The
 amendment introduced in late April 1999 allows tuna to be sold as "dolphin
 safe" in the USA even if caught by chasing and encircling dolphins with
 purse-seine nets. "The Dolphin Death Act is kind of a license to kill
 thousands of dolphins," says a GRD spokesperson.
 Submitting to pressure from Mexico, which invoked the North American Free
 Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to back up its claims, and other tuna fishing
 nations in Latin America, the U.S. government has lowered its formerly
 strict standards regarding the import of "dolphin-safe" tuna, which were
 only introduced in 1992. The weakened standard might mean up to $ US
 1,000,000 per year for Mexico alone. Claiming that the purse-seine
technique had no significant adverse impacts on the dolphin populations, US
 Commerce Secretary William Daley made its decision in spite of
international protests from nature conservation organisations including GRD.
 About 100 tuna fishing boats equipped with purse-seine nets of 1.6 km in
 length - floating factories which stay at sea for up to three months and
load up to 2,000 tons of tuna in their on-board freezers - are presently in
 operation; about 45 ships from Mexico alone. Dolphin schools are encircled
 with these nets to catch the tuna swimming about 150 meters underneath the
 dolphins. This method has caused the death of about 7 million dolphins in
 the past 40 years. Under the new legislation, tuna caught with this method
 may now be sold as "dolphin-safe" in the USA as long as an on-board
 observer reports no dolphins killed or seriously injured during this
 procedure. However, this does not take into account the fact that many
 marine mammals die from injuries or the traumatic experience after having
been released from the nets, as studies conducted by the US National Marine
 Fisheries Service have revealed.
 Since the introduction of the "dolphin safe" standards, the dolphin
mortality rate has decreased by 97 percent in the eastern tropical Pacific.
 Yet, the populations have not recovered significantly. While the American
 tuna fishing fleets and tuna processing industry are willing to maintain
 the previous strict standards, there is concern that the market will soon
 be flooded with falsely labeled tuna from Mexico.
 The environmental groups now hope for an immediate injunction or for the
 judge to rule from the bench against the "Dolphin Death Act."

 Translation: Ulrike Kirsch

 Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine
 German Dolphin Conservation Society
 Kornwegerstr. 37 - 81375 München - Germany
 Tel.: 0049-89-74 16 04 10 - Fax: 0049-89-74 16 04 11
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