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Richard O'Barry (RichardOBarry) on Twitter: The latest from Richard O'Barry (@RichardOBarry).

Richard O'Barry (RichardOBarry) on Twitter: The latest from Richard O'Barry (@RichardOBarry). | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it

The latest from Richard O'Barry (@RichardOBarry). The Cove on DVD, blood Dolphin$ on Animal Planet @Dolphin_Project @SJDolphins @LincolnOBarry. On a plane flying somewhere.

 

ALL KOREAN CAPTIVE DOLPHINS BACK WITH THEIR FAMILIES

August 7, 2013 by Ric O'Barry, Earth Island Institute

By Ric O'Barry
Director
Dolphin Project
Earth Island Institute

The Korean rehabilitation and release project, of which I was an advisor and the Korean Animal Welfare Association (KAWA) an integral part, can be officially declared a roaring success!

Here is a video of the moment of the release from the sea pen, on July 18.  The net was lowered and the dolphins Jedol and Chunsam swam out from the sea pen and into the open ocean:

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#Japanese coastal whaling ‘will wipe out species’: Environmental Activists | The Raw Story.

#Japanese coastal whaling ‘will wipe out species’: Environmental Activists | The Raw Story. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it

A London-based environmental group charged Thursday that Japan’s coastal whaling programme was on track to wipe out the marine mammals from local waters.

The number of whales being caught off the coast is on a steady decline, the Environmental Investigation Agency said, with fishermen having to travel further afield to find their targets.

“A comprehensive analysis of the available scientific data demonstrates unequivocally that there are grave concerns regarding the sustainability of these hunts,” said Sarah Baulch, the group’s cetaceans campaigner.

 

The campaigners looked at coastal whaling, which is distinct from Japan’s annual whale hunt in the Antarctic that draws international opprobrium and has seen Australia lodge a case with the International Court of Justice.

Small-time coastal whaling is allowed under the rules of the International Whaling Committee, which regards it as similar to that of communities engaged in aboriginal subsistence whaling elsewhere in the world.

The practice was brought to worldwide attention by the Oscar-winning anti-whaling documentary “The Cove”, which graphically depicted the slaughter of the animals in the small town of Taiji in Japan’s southwest.

The Japanese government has maintained that coastal whaling is the socio-economic foundation of fishing communities. But the argument does not wash in many Western countries, whose publics want it banned.

The outrage abroad, particularly the more extreme actions of militant campaigners in the Southern Ocean, has had the effect of making whaling a rallying cry for nationalists, who insist the desire to ban it is cultural imperialism.

The Environmental Investigation Agency, citing figures from the whaling industry, said the falling catch was indicative of a diminishing whale population, while charging the Japanese government is not carrying out proper surveys.

 

The group also charged that cruel methods employed in killing dolphins, whales and porpoises, in which they are chased a long way before being butchered, “likely” causes stress to the wider cetacean population.

The government should phase out the practice to allow the populations to recover while helping fishermen to find different jobs, it said.

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2013 in review: The year #wildlife crime became an international security issue.

2013 in review: The year #wildlife crime became an international security issue. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it

Jessica Aldred looks back at some of the year's biggest wildlife and natural world stories.

 

Arguably the biggest story of 2013 was wildlife crime, which escalated from a conservation issue to an international security threat. Driven by rising demand for ivory from east Asia, it has doubled over the past five years into a global trade worth $10bn, threatening political and economic stability in central Africa.

This month there were warnings that Africa could lose one-fifth of its elephants in the next decade if the continent's poaching crisis is not stopped. By the end of September, a record 704 rhinos had been killedby poachers in South Africa and 47 in Kenya this year. Figures showedtwo-thirds of forest elephants had been killed by ivory poachers in past decade.

Some high-profile massacres hit the headlines, with 86 elephants – including 33 pregnant females– killed in less than a week in Chad, 26 elephants slaughtered at a wildlife-viewing site in the Central African Republic and 80 poisoned at a water hole in Zimbabwe.

While conservation groups looked to technology such as surveillance drones and GPS trackers to aid their efforts, park rangers lost lives andfaced corruption fighting a one-sided war against increasingly militarised and organised gangs of poachers sometimes linked to terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab.

With Prince Charles and his son the Duke of Cambridge calling for a "war on poachers", UK prime minister David Cameron announced he would host the highest level global summit to date on combating the illegal wildlife trade. In the US, the Obama administration said it would destroy all 6m tonnes of its ivory stocks and the Philippines crushed 5m tonnesof seized ivory beneath industrial rollers.

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Six musical bands cancel with SeaWorld after ‘BlackFish’ documentary is released.

Six musical bands cancel with SeaWorld after ‘BlackFish’ documentary is released. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
Friday, Trisha Yearwood cancelled a tour date at SeaWorld after she read hundreds of comments from her fans about the “Blackfish” documentary; she is the sixth (New: 6 musical bands cancel with #SeaWorld after ‘#BlackFish’ documentary ...
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Global warming is unpaused and stuck on fast forward, new research shows.

Global warming is unpaused and stuck on fast forward, new research shows. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
Dana Nuccitelli: A new paper shows that global warming has continued over the past decade, and been manifested in different ways

 

New research by Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo of the National Center for Atmospheric Research investigates how the warming of the Earth's climate has behaved over the past 15 years compared with the previous few decades. They conclude that while the rate of increase of average global surface temperatures has slowed since 1998, melting of Arctic ice, rising sea levels, and warming oceans have continued apace.

The widespread mainstream media focus on the slowed global surface warming has led some climate scientists like Trenberth and Fasullo to investigate its causes and how much various factors have contributed to the so-called 'pause' or 'hiatus.' However, the authors note that while the increase in global temperatures has slowed, the oceans have taken up heat at a faster rate since the turn of the century. Over 90 percent of the overall extra heat goes into the oceans, with only about 2 percent heating the Earth's atmosphere. The myth of the 'pause' is based on ignoring 98 percent of global warming and focusing exclusively on the one bit that's slowed.

 

 

Nevertheless, the causes of the slowed global surface temperature increase present an interesting scientific question. In examining changes in the activity of the sun and volcanoes, Trenberth and Fasullo estimated that they can account for no more than a 20 percent reduction in the Earth's energy imbalance, which is what causes global warming. Thus the cause of the slowed surface warming must primarily lie elsewhere, and ocean cycles are the most likely culprit.

Trenberth and Fasullo found that after the massive El Niño event in 1998, the Pacific Ocean appears to have shifted into a new mode of operation. Since that time, Trenberth's research has shown that the deep oceans have absorbed more heat than at any other time in the past 50 years.

As a recent paper published in the journal Nature showed, the Pacific Ocean in particular appears to be the key component of the climate's natural internal variability, and the main culprit behind the slowed global surface warming over the past 15 years. However, another important recent paper by Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way showed that the global surface temperature rise has not slowed as much as some previously thought; in fact, the surface warming since 1997 happened more than twice as fast as previous estimates.

Trenberth and Fasullo's new paper also casts doubt on the conclusions a few recent studies that estimated the Earth's climate is less sensitive to the increased greenhouse effect than previously thought. These studies have been based on measurements of recent climate change, including the warming of the oceans. Climate contrarians like Matt Ridley have of course emphasized their results, because these few papers seem to suggest the climate won't warm quite as much over the next century as climate scientists previously thought.

However, the type of approach taken by these studies suffers from some significant drawbacks. Mainly the size of the cooling effect due to human aerosol pollution remains highly uncertain, and while the oceans have been warming rapidly, just how rapidly is another unsettled question.

Previous estimates put the amount of heat accumulated by the world's oceans over the past decade equivalent to about 4 Hiroshima atomic bomb detonations per second, on average, but Trenberth's research puts the estimate equivalent to more than 6 detonations per second. Trenberth and Fasullo note that using their ocean heating estimate by itself would increase the equilibrium climate sensitivity estimate in the paper referenced by Ridley from 2°C to 2.5°C average global surface warming in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and using other more widespread accepted values would bring the estimate in line with the standard value of 3°C. They thus note,

"Using short records with uncertain forcings of the Earth system that is not in equilibrium does not (yet) produce reliable estimates of climate sensitivity."

In any case, the main point of the paper is that global warming is stuck on fast forward. Ice continues to melt, sea levels continue to rise, and the oceans continue to warm rapidly. While the warming of global surface temperatures has slowed somewhat, that appears to primarily be due to changing ocean cycles, particularly in the Pacific. However, these changes are mostly just causing the oceans to absorb more heat, leaving less for the atmosphere. As Trenberth and Fasullo conclude,

"[Global warming] is very much alive but being manifested in somewhat different ways than a simple increase in global mean surface temperature."

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#FINdonesia

#FINdonesia | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
Indonesia is the #1 supplier of shark fins for the Shark Fin Soup industry. This film looks into this regional fishery to look at potential conservation models.
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Vancouver #Shark Fin Protest Heats Up.

Vancouver #Shark Fin Protest Heats Up. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it

Shark fin soup opponents in Vancouver are stepping up their action against a Chinese eatery with a hard-hitting poster campaign.

The Vancouver Animal Defense League is urging a boycott of Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant on Main Street over the continued presence of the controversial dish on its menu.

The campaign is in addition to a protest they have been staging outside the restaurant every Friday for the last eight months, Global News reported.

"Our goal is to direct their business to other restaurants that have taken shark fin soup off the menu or just do not carry it," spokesperson Marley Daviduk told the network.

And the restaurant is feeling the heat. A supervisor who identified himself simply as Winston to Global, said the protests may have caused Sun Sui Wah to lose customers.

The group began protesting outside the business in March after ending a separate campaign against Fortune Garden Restaurant, where demonstrations carried on for eight months before the dish was removed from its menu, The Vancouver Courier reported in May.

Efforts to ban shark fin soup at government levels in Canada have proven unsuccessful.

The federal government voted against NDP MP Fin Donnelly's private member's bill to ban the importing of shark fins to Canada last March.

Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang campaigned for a shark fin ban in the city last year, but those efforts were put on the backburner after the Ontario Supreme Court ruled against a similar prohibition in Toronto, 24 Hours Vancouver reported.

Jang's attempt provoked heated reactions, with David Chung, owner of Richmond's Jade Seafood Restaurant, calling him a "banana" in response to his campaigning.

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Twitter / ItsEarthPics: Canoeing with orcas. ...

Twitter / ItsEarthPics: Canoeing with orcas. ... | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
Canoeing with orcas. http://t.co/2Hd4FcvZCO
Vidar Oceanus's insight:

" Would love to be there, astonishing!"

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What a Mess: Have a Look at One of the Most Polluted Places on Earth.

What a Mess: Have a Look at One of the Most Polluted Places on Earth. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it

Between 20 and 50 million metric tons of e-waste are generated globally each year. Perhaps nowhere else on the Planet is this more evident than in the Ghanian capital of Accra. The city is home to Agbogbloshie, an enormous dumping site for the world's cast-off electronics. 

Australian fillmmaker David Fedele recently spent three months documenting life at the site, interviewing locals who make their living by recycling or selling e-waste—a general term that covers any item (televisions, toasters, CD players) with circuitry or electrical components with a power or battery supply.

Fedele's award-winning short film, E-Wasteland, chronicles the consequences of our collective obsession with newer, faster, and better electronics. 

One of those consequences is an extreme level of environmental toxicity. Contaminant levels at Agbogbloshie are so severe that the Blacksmith Institute, an international nonprofit addressing pollution in developing countries, recently ranked the site one of the top 10 most polluted places on Earth. 

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Orca Avengers:

Orca Avengers: | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it

Vidar Oceanus

An Earth Science Institute World Project is proud to announce the new projects for September:

Concept MERCURY 1 Project.

Geologist, Historian, Researcher & Writer Tyr Pandora of: Concept MARS 1 Project Earth Sciences, 2001-2013 @ConceptPandora

Explorer, Research specialist, Geoscience advocate & Writer Loki Mars of: Concept MARS 1 Project Earth Sciences, 2001-2013 @ConceptMARS1

Life science , Botany student, Sci-fi Writer Thor Mercury of: Concept MARS 1 Project Earth Sciences, 2001-2013 @ThorMercury1

Earth science, Natural science & Zoology student Odin Prometheus@PrometheusEarth

of: Concept MARS 1 Project Earth Sciences, 2001-2013

Founder of #OrcaAvengers Loki Mars @ConceptMARS1 welcomes you

Orca Conservancy @OrcaConservancy

Thank you so much for R/Ts!!! @PrometheusEarth @privateIterri @TitanExplores @Len_Varley  @VidarOceans @dolphinpaige

11:44 PM – 23 Aug 2013

3 RETWEETS 1 FAVORITE

Vidar Oceanus @VidarOceans

Cetacean Campaigners:  #OrcaAvengers & #CoveGuardians @VidarOceans #tweet4taiji @TitanExplores  http://twitpic.com/dbc9cb  via @TwitPic

4:00 AM – 1 Sep 2013

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Chinese Tiger Farms Kill Captive Cats to Sell Parts.

Chinese Tiger Farms Kill Captive Cats to Sell Parts. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it

There are only a few dozen tigers left in the wild in China. So how is it that the market in tiger pelts and bones is booming there?

The answer is tiger farms. In one way they resemble puppy mills — they breed large numbers of animals for profit. In two other ways they are very different: puppies leave the mills alive, and the mills are closed to the public. Some say the treatment of tigers on Chinese farms is more like that of chickens or livestock.

In China tiger farms are legal and operate like zoos, charging admission for visitors to see mostly tame animals in barren cages or being forced with beatings to do tricks. Hua Ning, project director at the International Fund for Animal Welfare in China, says that tiger farms sometimes pull out tigers’ teeth or claws.

Video courtesy of World Wildlife Fund

The cats are often malnourished, reduced to just skin and bones. However their skin and bones are what sell, the former for rugs, the latter to be ground into supposedly tonic tiger wine. Oh — and penises. They are made into a soup that is believed to improve virility and can cost as much as $320 per bowl. (Pfizer, you are missing a golden opportunity to market Viagra to a population that seems to be in great need of it.)

The farms deny that they are anything but zoos and that they kill or sell the cats. Meanwhile, they struggle to stay afloat financially, spending money that should be going to feed starving tigers on freezing the carcasses of slain cats instead.

We’re talking about a lot of tigers. A report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) estimates China’s captive tiger population at 5,000-6,000; The Guardian puts the number at 6,000-10,000. If the purpose of the farms was to breed animals for release into the wild those numbers would be cause for celebration, as experts predict that tigers may become extinct in the wild within 20 years. But no farm has ever released a captive tiger into the wild who survived.

It appears that the Chinese government is in on the trade in dead captive tigers, and in fact is helping to stimulate the market. This violates the CITES treaty baning international trade in tiger parts, which China signed. China banned the domestic trade in tiger parts in 1993. But when the United Kingdom and India called on China this year to ban tiger farms China refused, denying that the farms encourage poaching wild tigers. Perhaps in response, the World Bank announced that it would dedicate $100,000 to research how tiger farms affect wild tiger poaching.

The head of EIA’s Tiger Campaign says the evidence exists that China has “domestic policies which stimulate demand and ultimately drive the poaching of wild tigers.” Trading captive tiger products leads to the poaching of wild tigers because of the price differential between the two. Tiger pelts and wine are expensive status symbols, but people with less money want to buy them too. That is where the demand for wild tiger parts come in: they are about a third of the price of captive-grown tiger parts and therefore are accessible to the large consumer base that wants the trappings of luxury.

Only the Chinese government can shut down this industry. It makes symbolic moves in that direction, like closing one farm that starved 11 Siberian tigers to death and was accused of selling bones to manufacturers of tiger wine and tonics. At the same time it permits similar facilities to stay open. An anonymous zoo official called the production of tiger wine an open secret. Ironically, authorities are bribed to look the other way with — you guessed it — bottles of tiger wine.

Fortunately the largest wild tiger population lives in India, and the country is taking new steps to protect them. Last summer India banned tourism in the “core zones” of tiger reserves in response to concerns that too many tourists threatened the reserves and their feline residents.

While this is progress, in the end tigers’ fate lies with the Chinese government. The biggest threat to their survival is poachers, and the biggest market for poachers’ wares is China.



Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/chinese-tiger-farms-kill-captive-cats-to-sell-parts.html#ixzz2lbJOY09f




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Free the Disney Dolphin Katie Emmons Petition b Katie Emmon wells, V T

Free the Disney Dolphin  Katie Emmons  Petition b Katie Emmon wells, V T | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it

• In the wild, dolphins can travel from 40 to 80 miles a day, using echolocation and sonar which they rely upon as acoustic creatures. 
• In captivity, they are confined to barren concrete tanks where they are forced to perform circus tricks for the paying public. They are unable to use echolocation- as the sound waves ricocheting off of the tanks walls create stressful confusion for these animals- in some cases causing them to go literally insane. 
• In the wild, they hunt live fish, and have a natural diet. 
• In captivity, they are hand-fed dead fish and are routinely given various medications to prevent serious ailments- such as stomach ulcers -which are a result of the stress in captivity.

Four male dolphins are currently being held at Disney World’s Epcot Park. They live in a dark and murky pool surrounded by observation windows lined with people, screaming children, loud music, amplified voices and other stressful sounds. 
They are literally treated as a ‘side-show’, and there is little to no information released publicly about them. 
Disney claims that these dolphins are involved in ‘research programs’ at their park, but by simply visiting Epcot, it quickly becomes clear that there seems to be no educational or conservation outcome from these ‘programs’. 
These dolphins do NOT belong at a noisy, crowed theme park- living in an artificial indoor facility with little to no exposure to natural sunlight- they belong in their natural habitat- THE OCEAN. 
Tell Disney to do the right thing- PLEASE RELEASE THESE DOLPHINS TO SEAPENS FOR REHABILITATION.

If Disney truly wishes to contribute to environmental research and help educate the public about these animals, they will make the humane choice and release these animals to sea-pens- allowing them to live in their natural habitat- the ocean -and receive rehabilitation. 
We’re flooding Disney with letters, pressuring them to release their dolphins- join us! 
By signing the petition, you are helping these dolphins get closer and closer to real freedom!

Visit our campaign site: 
www.freethedisneydolphins.org

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Laurel Stelter's curator insight, October 3, 2013 7:29 PM
I think that this is something very unique. Having a petition online is a great way to gain support. You would think that Disney would be friendly with their animals, realizing that caged life is much different than being in the wild. I feel like something needs to be done, this is wrong, and dolphins need to be free.
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Hong Kong, World’s Shark Fin Hub, Sees Huge Drop in Infamous Trade | TIME.com

Hong Kong, World’s Shark Fin Hub, Sees Huge Drop in Infamous Trade | TIME.com | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
Hong Kong, which received roughly half of the world's shark fin harvest last year, has seen a 30% drop in imports as a long-running environmental campaign begins to bite.
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Hear Whales Calling!

Hear Whales Calling! | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
Hear Whales Calling!, by Vidar Oceanus: When you hear a Whale calling out to others, what do you think about?
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Jill Studholme – Google+ - Mysterious disease creates Zombie #Starfish

Jill Studholme – Google+ - Mysterious disease creates Zombie #Starfish | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
Mysterious disease creates Zombie Starfish

Sick and dying starfish (sea stars) have appeared in a multitude of locations between Alaska and southern California. 

"It's like a zombie wasteland," says biologist Emily Tucker told Nature. "You'll see detached arms crawling away from their  body."

Called Sea Star Wasting Disease, it can cause the death of an infected starfish in just a few days. Its effects can be devastating on starfish populations. 

The disease has hit before, in southern California in 1983-1984 for example and again  in 1997-98. These events were associated with warmer sea temperatures. The current outbreak is more widespread. 

It is particularly worrying because one of the starfish affected, Pisaster ochraceus, was the original "keystone species". This is a species  that has a disproportionately large effect on its environment relative to its abundance. Without it the ecosystem would be dramatically different. The concept was first proposed in 1969 usingPisaster ochraceus as a primary example.  Within a year of  Pisaster ochraceus being removed, biodiversity halved.

Lesions on the animal are the first signs of the disease. Tissue then decays around the lesions which leads to break up of the body and death.

There is a map of where diseased sea-stars have been found athttp://data.piscoweb.org/marine1/seastardisease.html

More information at 
http://www.eeb.ucsc.edu/pacificrockyintertidal/data-products/sea-star-wasting/index.html
http://www.nature.com/news/scientists-search-for-clues-in-sea-star-die-off-1.14370

#seastarwastingsyndrome   #starfish  

Photo credit: Steven Pavlov (CC BY-SA 3.0) 
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Ron Peters's curator insight, January 9, 2014 9:44 AM

Keystone Species dieing...

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Southern Resident Killer Whales: Sleeping in the Salish Sea (HD)

Southern Resident Killer Whales: Sleeping in the Salish Sea (HD) | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
The endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales rested next to Vashon Island on December 14, 2013, with their family members grouped tightly together. Watch t... (RT @OrcaSOS: Fascinating! I❥orcas!
MT @oceanCRIES: Just beautiful!
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Why We Must Reject the Dogma of Religious Frauds and Find Our Own Truth.

Why We Must Reject the Dogma of Religious Frauds and Find Our Own Truth. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
Many of those claiming to be speaking for God have little patience for people who want to figure out for themselves what life is about.

Via Jocelyn Stoller
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Victory for #Seals WTO Upholds EU Ban on Seal Fur.

Victory for #Seals WTO Upholds EU Ban on Seal Fur. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
The WTO wasn't persuaded at all by Canada's claim that the slaughter can be humane.

 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that the EU can legally ban the import of seal fur and other products because of “moral concerns.” The WTO wasn’t persuaded at all by Canada’s claim that the slaughter can be humane. This victory follows appeals by EU resident Jude Law, who wrote to the WTO on PETA U.K.’s behalf, and Canadian Pamela Anderson, who wrote to the WTO on PETA’s behalf, urging it to do just what it’s done. Previously, PETA also got music legends Joan Jett, Iggy Pop, and Sarah McLachlan to weigh in, requesting that the WTO hearings be open so that the public could be fully informed and better able to submit comments to the WTO panel deciding the case.

Read more: http://www.peta.org/blog/victory-seals-wto-upholds-eu-ban/#ixzz2n9mzLHPl

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Is Banning Shark Fin An Equitable Way To Protect Sharks?

Is Banning Shark Fin An Equitable Way To Protect Sharks? | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it

City councillors in Toronto voted overwhelmingly last year to ban the possession, sale and consumption of shark fin, making Canada's largest city a shark-fin free zone. Those in support of the ban argued that sharks are killed inhumanely and often thrown into the ocean alive after their fins are cut off, a process called "shark finning."

It was only a matter of time before the debate was brought to Vancouver. So when Vancouver city council voted unanimously in September to start working on a ban on the sale and trade of shark fin products in Metro Vancouver, the media was awash with arguments from those advocating a ban and from those opposing it.

This topic has generated so much debate that just mentioning shark fin can turn a casual conversation at a pleasant dinner party into a heated argument. The same topic has also divided opinions in major shark fin consuming countries in Asia.

Much of the debate focuses on "shark finning" because without the fins, sharks starve to death and they are eaten alive by other fish, or they drown because their gills cannot extract oxygen from the water if they cannot swim. This practice has actually been banned in many countries such as Australia, and Canada and the U.S. since 2005.

Some organizations are campaigning for a global ban on shark finning and will require all sharks caught to land intact -- their fins must not be removed while the boat is at sea. Many commercial fishing vessels will, as normal practice, retain the entire shark body as it has many uses. Shark cartilage and shark liver oil are used in dietary supplements, and its leather, also known as Shagreen, is used in wallets, shoes, furniture and other leather products.

So, is the issue about the way that sharks are killed and left to die, or is it about the killing of sharks? If the debate is about stopping the killing of sharks, I can understand why a ban on shark fin and all shark products is appropriate.

If it is about the inhumane treatment of sharks, is a ban on shark fin soup an equitable course of action? Shouldn't we go after those unscrupulous operators who engage in illegal activities to chase fast profits? What will happen to the livelihood of fishermen who treat the carcass properly and what do we do with the large number of sharks that are killed as by-catch in commercial fishing?

USED IN CHINESE CUISINE

Shark fin has been used in Chinese cuisine for hundreds of years, dating back to the Ming Dynasty. It is most commonly served as a soup at wedding and birthday banquets. There are many species of sharks, some more sought after than others and they demand a premium.

A lot has been written about the taste, nutritional value, or the lack of, as arguments supporting and opposing the ban. Some critics label the eating of shark fin as barbaric and uncivilized. This may be as misguided as rejecting chicken feet just because someone doesn't eat them or can't even bear the thought of someone else eating them. Either way, I think this is a personal preference and it is impossible to win an argument about personal choices.

One compelling piece of evidence that neither side disputes is the fact that the world's shark population has plummeted to such a low level that some species of shark are facing extinction. But other fish such as bluefin tuna are also facing the same peril caused by overfishing. In fact, bluefin tuna are the most valuable fish in the world, worth commercially more than any species of shark and coveted for their fatty belly meat used in sushi.

 

If the solution to the shark conservation issue is a wholesale ban of shark fin consumption -- regardless of the type of sharks or how they are caught or used -- shouldn't we consider banning tuna in sandwiches and sushi as well? Is the life of a tuna worth less than that of a shark? Will the legislators still advocate a ban to protect a species if it is a food that they eat?

MAKING INFORMED DECISIONS

With the advance in GPS, internet and wireless technology, it is possible to trace and record where, when and how a catch of fish was caught, who handled and processed it, all the way to the consumers who buy it in a store or order it in a restaurant. With this information, consumers can make an informed decision about the choices they make and the impact of their choices on the environment.

I believe the key lies in educating the public about the dwindling ocean resources, banning illegal fishing practices, working with governments to regulate global shark fin trade and implementing a licensing or quota system that will also benefit other species such as bluefin tuna that is on the brink of extinction.

Canada is in a unique position as many Canadians of Asian background still maintain close ties with their home country. The amount of shark fin consumed in Canada, even North America, is a drop in the ocean, compared to what is consumed in Asia. Banning shark fin in Canada will not help conserve the world's declining shark population; it will also take us out of the loop of influencing our Asian neighbours in regulating shark fin trade and implementing best fishing practice in the world.

Like many people who are concerned about the state of the environment, I wouldn't be too bothered if I was told I couldn't have another bowl of shark fin soup ever again, as I don't even remember the last time I had it. Any effective measures that protect our valuable ocean resources and ensure that we have a sustainable source of seafood for future generations will get my vote. My only concern is whether those measures are fair and equitable, and help conservation efforts in the long run.

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SPCA of Central Florida: Stop Supporting #SeaWorld

After adopting an animal companion from the shelter, I was sent two tickets to take a trip to SeaWorld and I was shocked. The SPCA is an organization that focuses on animals and treating them compassionately; an organization that fights against animal cruelty. Supporting SeaWorld is extremely hypocritical. Taking part in their "Happy Tails" campaign is ridiculous! Giving away SeaWorld tickets as an incentive to adopt an animal companion does not guarantee that the pet will be placed in a good home. Contrary, it guarantees that more people are going to SeaWorld. More time should be focus on finding good homes for these animals, rather than giving money to an institution that promotes animal cruelty, like SeaWorld.

SeaWorld is a cruel institution for animals. At SeaWorld animals are denied everything that is natural for them, they're cramped in tiny concrente pools and are forced to do tricks unnatural for them. There has been recent reports stating that around "32 orcas have died in captivity in SeaWorld's 3 parks".

The film "Blackfish" exposes all the behind the scenes cruelty taking place at SeaWorld. Whales like Tilikum are subjected to psysical injuries and psychological abberations, and deserve a better life then the one they live in SeaWorld. No animal should be deprived of what's entirely natural to them.

Animals in captivity deserve better, and need to be heard! With your support we can make this change happen!

SPCA if you really care about animals, stop supporting cruelty. You have a choice, you're either for the animals or you're not.

To: 
SPCA of Central Florida, SPCA of Central Florida 
Ashleigh Bizzelle, Office Assistant, SPCA of Central Florida 
Fraily Rodriguez, Senior Director, Community Resource Development, SPCA of Central Florida 
Helen Preston, Manager of Special Events and Projects, SPCA of Central Florida 
Jake White, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SPCA of Central Florida 
Kerri Burns, Executive Director, SPCA of Central Florida 
Brian Pratt, Operations Manager, SPCA of Central Florida As a person who cares for the well being of animals I was shocked to learn that the SPCA of Central Florida was supporting animal cruelty by giving tickets to SeaWorld. 

I urge you to do the right thing here, act compassionately and stop supporting SeaWorld and their 'Happy Tails' campaign. It's hurting animals and it's hurting your organization's reputation. 

Help animals by finding them good...
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Op-Ed: Documents show SeaWorld waited 27 mins to call 911 after attack (Includes interview)

Op-Ed: Documents show SeaWorld waited 27 mins to call 911 after attack (Includes interview) | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
Orlando - In Feb. 2010, SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed during a show by the orca Tilikum. Official documents from the Orange County Sheriff's Office, showed that SeaWorld dispatchers waited 27 minutes before dialing 911 for help. Why? It was Feb. 24 when the forty-year-old experienced SeaWorld trainer was killed by a 12,000 lb male orca named Tilikum during a Dine with Shamu performance at SeaWorld Florida. A subsequent autopsy determined that Dawn had died of blunt force trauma to the head, neck and torso. She had also been drowned. Tilikum had broken Brancheau’s jaw, broken her neck, dislocated one of her elbows, and, according to the autopsy report, had part of her scalp “forcibly” torn from her head. Tilikum also ripped off Dawn's left arm. Brancheau’s death was the fourth death caused by orcas in captivity and followed the deaths of Keltie Byrne at Sea Land of the Pacific in 1991; Daniel Dukes in 1999 and Alexis Martinez at Loro Parque in 2009. Tilikum was implicated in the deaths of both Byrne and Dukes. SeaWorld imported Tilikum from Sealand of the Pacific in Vancouver, British Columbia, after Byrne's death. The company was more than aware of the orca's history, suggests the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation report into Brancheau's death. A report Digital Journal has managed to obtain. Even the NOAA National Marine Fishery Services (NMFS) was concerned about the whales SeaWorld wished to import. Prior to issuing a permit for public display, they asked the company in a letter (Dec. 17, 1991), if the corporation had considered the tragic incident at Sealand, and what actions it would take to prevent a reoccurrance prior to and after, acquiring Tilikum. SeaWorld responded it had been implementing enhanced employee training and safety since 1987. As a result it said, there had been no accidents involving killer whales at SeaWorld facilities. SeaWorld asserted, "we are generally familiar" with the circumstances surrounding the accidental death of Byrne, but we do "not have any of Sealand's reports in this matter." The marine park then urged NMFS to seek the reports directly from the Government of Canada and finally blamed the incident on "poor pool design" not relevant to SeaWorld facilities. In a follow-up letter on Jan. 14 1992, Anne Terbush of NMFS again urged SeaWorld to, "obtain and closely examine all relevant reports." The Fishery Services believed the Sealand incident to be "a significant enough event," that required further addressing. Added Terbush, SeaWorld should also consider implementing recommendations made in these reports, to address the "care and maintenance" of the orcas after they are imported. SeaWorld responded on Feb 14, 1992 and informed NMFS the company had undertaken a review of the Workers Compensation Board-Employer's Accident Investigation Report and Sealand's policy statements. The conclusion reached they said, only reinforced their previous assertions that the incident was unique to Sealand. SeaWorld's missive however, did not indicate whether the company had bothered to obtain either the Work Safe BC Accident Inspection report, or the Verdict of the Coroner's Inquest. Perhaps yet more disturbing, are the polar opposite views held over Byrne's death by OSHA and SeaWorld. The marine mammal park regarded the trainer's death as accidental. Upon further investigation by OSHA, it was deemed anything but. OSHA referred to a description of the incident by both the Seattle Times and a PBS Frontlinereport, which showed the orcas' willful intent to keep Byrne in the pool with them. It was clear Tilikum arrived from Vancouver with a history; one the corporation failed to pass on to its staff, said former SeaWorld trainer and co-founder of Voice of the Orcas, Samantha Berg. Berg who appeared on the CBS Early Show last year, said: "My understanding of the animal's past was very limited. In fact, there had been 30 incidents between killer whales, and trainers prior to my being hired at the park. And I didn't know about any of them until after I left SeaWorld. So I think that's a serious mistake on SeaWorld's part that they weren't letting people know the history of all the animals."

Read more: http://digitaljournal.com/article/320678#ixzz2mz4TF9P3
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Cetacean Campaigners Of The World.

Cetacean Campaigners Of The World. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it

 "Want a tweet embedded on our site? Tweet us a mention  @VidarOceans or @TitanExplores & it's done! 

Cetacean Campaigners Of The World.
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@VidarOceans Infiltration Amphibian.

@VidarOceans Infiltration Amphibian. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
Scooped by Vidar Oceanus Scoop.it! India Ministry Rejects Cruel Dolphin Parks. From www.peta.org - Today, 11:10 AM  Written by Michelle Kretzer | May 16, 2013Dolphins don’t belong in tiny glass tan...
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The Evils of Passivity; "Blackfish" and Viewer Duty.

The Evils of Passivity; "Blackfish" and Viewer Duty. | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it

 Posted on September 11, 2013 by Joey Nolfi 

 

We’re so very good at viewing.

It’s in our nature. Our eyes desire motion for consumption, drawn to kinetic energy in a magnetic bond too powerful to describe. It’s an ugly truth that what fascinates us is most often something elusive to our grasp. Mystery equals wonder, and wonder equals desire.  As humans, it’s also in our nature to actively seek out that which beckons our interest, even if it’s dangerous. Killer whales, like the ones at the heart of the rousing Blackfish, fit into a dangerous mold; they are a combination of spectacle and overwhelming power we cannot–and were never meant to–control.

The recently-released documentary by Gabriela Cowperhwaite, shows us how SeaWorld parks around the country have removed an essential part of the equation of spectacle. They’ve made it easy for us to view these animals as nothing more than 12,000-pound toys, ripping them from their homes in the wild to display them for our sense of bewonderment. SeaWorld marketing has conditioned us to accept them as larger-than-life plush dolls living happily ever after in the dream that is by all means simply a concrete jail cell for our entertainment.

But, we live for the spectacle of their performance. To consume spectacle is to be human, and harnessing the power of spectacle inflates our egos that much more. It’s not like they were modestly-sized in the first place. To assume that, as we see in the first twenty minutes of Blackfish, we are entitled so much as to pluck these beautiful creatures from their homes in the wild in the first place is a moral sin in itself. We see grown men, hardened from years of regret, crying onscreen as they recount the sounds of wild Orca wailing for their young. Regret is a testament to evil, and SeaWorld has a lot of explaining to do for their despicable actions.

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URGENT: Immediate Wild Capture Moratorium for Marine Mammals (Canada)

URGENT: Immediate Wild Capture Moratorium for Marine Mammals (Canada) | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
Why this is important!
Both the Ontario Provincial Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Madeleine Meilleur and Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield are reviewing what steps their respective administrations can take to implement changes to how we relate to marine mammals. It is crucial that we make our voices heard and that we demand an immediate moratorium on the import and export of marine mammals for the purpose of captivity. We will not settle for bigger tanks and regulation by itself is betrayal! This online petition will be matched with two separate hard copy petitions - one at the Provincial level and one at the Federal level.
 
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Blog: WAZA Could Stop the Slaughter | Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project

Blog: WAZA Could Stop the Slaughter | Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project | Vidar Oceanus Investigates | Scoop.it
WAZA COULD STOP THE SLAUGHTERSeptember 6, 2013 by Ric O'Barry, Earth Island Institute

By Ric O’Barry
Director
Dolphin Project
Earth Island Institute

 

It's 5:00 AM in Taiji, Japan.  The dolphin-hunting boats are secure to their dock, and the mooring lines are doubled up.  The sea is raging.

 

This is good for the dolphins.  They will be safe today.

Life and death are here in the Twilight Zone is sometimes dictated by the weather.  A friend of ours, who spent a great deal of time in the Wakayama Prefecture that includes Taiji town, told us this area has the worst weather in all of Japan.  I believe him.

Life and death for these dolphins is also dictated by one Dr. Gerald Dick, Executive Director of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).  Dr. Dick has the power to abolish the violent captures that in turn would likely end the slaughter.

How?  WAZA is the world society that includes hundreds of zoos and aquariums around the world.  The Japanese regional association of WAZA is the Japan Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA).

A member of JAZA is the notorious Taiji Whale Museum.  Dr. Dick and WAZA meanwhile have a policy statement on their website which is an excellent example of obfuscation, denial, and finger-pointing, in very polite language, to avoid the reality that JAZA member aquariums and other WAZA member aquariums subsidize the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji by buying live-caught wild dolphins from the dolphin killers at an outrageous price.

WAZA's "inaction" seems clearly in conflict which their own mission statement which emphasizes conservation and sustainability.

A dolphin killed for the meat market in Taiji will bring around $500-600 for sale.  But a trained live dolphin can be sold for $154,000 or more on the world market for blood dolphin$.  Where do the dolphins go?  A lot are sold in Japan, which now has a hundred facilities (up from 50 just a few years ago) that keep captive dolphins, ranging from large SeaWorld-style theme aquariums to small netted floating platforms in harbors for an “encounter with a dolphin.”  Many others are flown to China and the Middle East.

Just last Sunday, on the first day of the hunt season, the Dolphin Project Team witnessed about 50 or more bottlenose dolphins rounded up and driven into the Cove. 

The next day, dolphin brokers and aquarium officials were out in force with the dolphin hunters, picking over the captives, finding “show quality” dolphins.  One quality they look for is a lack of scarring or skin discoloration.  Another is to get female dolphins, which are more easily dominated and trained than male dolphins in captivity.

Dr. Dick and WAZA proudly established a bizarre and meaningless dance in which the dolphin hunters capture bottlenose dolphins and release the rest of the pod after taking animals for captivity.  This is what they did last Monday.  But this scheme only works for bottlenose dolphins, and only works for the month of September. 

Any other species herded into the Cove during September is brutally killed in a welter of blood.  And the rest of the year outside of September?  Those same bottlenose dolphins will be slaughtered just like any other species.  What kind of a slimy and misleading deal is that?  Are the profits of the captive industry so important to WAZA that they will ignore the screams of dying dolphins in Taiji?

The money determines the madness.  As long as the dolphin hunters get the lucrative subsidy from the captivity industry, they will continue the drive hunts, and slaughter any dolphins left behind for the meat.  It is a vicious cycle.

What you can do:


Take the pledge: Don’t buy a ticket to a dolphinarium or a facility with captive dolphins or a swim-with-captive-dolphins program. 

Tell WAZA that they should take steps to discipline aquariums that buy dolphins from drive fisheries like Taiji, the Solomon Islands, and other places around the world. 

Photo of training a dolphin at the Taiji Whale Museum by Leah Lemieux, http://www.rekindlingthewaters.com .

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