conservazione delfini nel mondo
- Subject: conservazione delfini nel mondo
- From: "Alessandro Gimona" <agimona at hotmail.com>
- Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 09:33:22 GMT
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,
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
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,
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
create the urgently needed dolphin sanctuaries.
Additionally, we want to increase awareness among locals, politicians,
tourists of the need for protecting dolphins and their environment. This
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
or rivers or have stranded alive.
For the project to be carried out within the required scope including
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
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
along the Peruvian coast has revealed that still hundreds of dolphins and
porpoises are dying in fishing nets or through harpoons. The enforcement
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
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
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
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
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
sold to dolphinariums.
Commercial Exploitation of Small Cetaceans on the Increase
A growing number of dolphinariums and direct hunting has led to a
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
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.
facilities are planned in France and the Ukraine.
Another small cetacean species which has recently made the headlines is
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
actively participated, the Russian government stopped the capture of the
According to GRD, it is high time that the International Whaling
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
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.
Sea codfish or Baltic Sea salmon, are overfished worldwide, or are about
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
(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
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
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
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
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
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,
Commerce Secretary William Daley made its decision in spite of
international protests from nature conservation organisations including
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
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
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
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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