US responds to Iceland’s horrendous whale meat industry

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In a great bit of news, the US is challenging Iceland’s trade practices in whale meat and other products made from whales.

What Iceland, Japan any others involved in whaling, directly or in purchasing the products, are doing crosses the line. Whales are vital to the Earth’s ecosystem and more importantly, whales are highly intelligent beings. Wiping them off the face to the Earth is criminal and inflicting such extreme suffering on them is both criminal and evil.

The press release from the US Fish and Wildlife Service:

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Federal Agencies Directed to Take Action in Response to Iceland’s International Trade in Whale Meat and Products

The President has notified Congress of actions he directed federal departments and agencies to take to encourage Iceland to cease international trade in whale meat and products. The President’s instructions come in response to a certification issued by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell that Iceland’s international trade in whale meat and products is diminishing the effectiveness of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

“The Icelandic government continues to increase its fin whaling quotas despite international pressure to cease its commercial hunting operations,” said Secretary Jewell. “The President’s actions today highlight our continued concern about and staunch opposition to Icelandic commercial fin whaling and the export of endangered fin whale meat.”

Secretary Jewell’s certification, as required by the Pelly Amendment to the Fishermen’s Protective Act, followed on from a similar certification by then-Secretary of Commerce Locke in July 2011, in which he stated that commercial whaling by Icelandic nationals diminished the effectiveness of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) conservation program. The IWC adopted a commercial whaling moratorium in 1982.

In the letter notifying Congress of his actions, the President said: “Just as the United States made the transition from a commercial whaling nation to a whale watching nation, we must enhance our engagement to facilitate this change by Iceland.” His directives reaffirm those made pursuant to the 2011 certification and include several additional actions including, among others, encouraging Iceland to promote alternative non-lethal uses of whales in Iceland, such as whale watching; working with other international actors on additional measures to reduce Iceland’s fin whale trade and enhance the effectiveness of CITES; and re-examining bilateral cooperation projects with Iceland in light of its whaling policies. A detailed list of the actions directed by President Obama can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/01/
message-congress-iceland-and-fisherman-s-protective-act.
Iceland resumed commercial whaling in 2006 and since then has exported whale meat and products despite a ban on international commercial trade. Unlike Japan, Iceland does not consider itself to be bound by the IWC’s moratorium on commercial whaling. In December 2013, Iceland issued a fin whale quota of 154 fin whales per year for the years 2014-2019.

From 2008 to 2012, trade reports show that more than 1.6 million kilograms of fin whale meat and products were exported from Iceland to Japan. Fin whales are listed in Appendix I of CITES, which prohibits trade for primarily commercial purposes.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

USFWS puts the brakes on wolf delisting proposal

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At least for now, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has halted a peer-review process for removing wolves from the Endangered Species List.

Defenders of Wildlife reports 16 respected scientists were barred from advising on the proposal. An email I received today includes a statement from Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife:

 “While we still disagree on the merits of this premature delisting proposal, at least the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service understands the magnitude of the issue. It’s a relief that the Service has listened to the voices of wildlife supporters nationwide who have called the integrity of their peer review process into question. Cherry-picking scientists is not a good way to do business. To ensure impartiality and scientific integrity, we recommend that the Service turn the peer review over to the National Academy of Sciences instead of trying to manage the process itself. Either way, we look forward to a fair peer review of the science behind this ill-advised delisting proposal, and we hope the Service turns to the best experts in the field regardless of whether they have written letters about the use of their science in the proposal.”

How in the world is it that scientists were going to be banned from a panel that was set to evaluate the delisting of gray wolves nationwide? It is a growing problem in this country, where a growing effort is working against science education and science in general.

Too often, pure greed is behind the movement to block science and the movement to block protections for animals.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

New USFWS protections for loggerhead nesting sites was a response to lawsuit filed by conservation groups

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I received an email today through Oceana, in response to my earlier post concerning the US Fish and Wildlife’s move to protect loggerhead sea turtle nesting site along the Atlantic and Gulf coast regions.

The attached release reports the USFWS move comes after a lawsuit was filed earlier this year – by the Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana and the Turtle Island Restoration Network. It seems federal agencies had failed to act on petitions filed by the organizations, pushing for protections for the important nesting regions.

The full press release:

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U.S. Government Finally Acts in Response to Conservation Lawsuits

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— After five years of delay, the federal government today finally proposed to protect more than 739 miles of critical habitat for threatened loggerhead sea turtles on their nesting beaches along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts. These sea turtles face serious threats to their long-term survival from drowning in fishing nets, loss of nesting beaches due to coastal development and sea-level rise. The proposal spans from North Carolina to Mississippi and encompasses 84 percent of all known nesting areas.

Today’s action by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service comes as a result of a lawsuit filed earlier this year by conservation groups Center for Biological Diversity, Oceana, and Turtle Island Restoration Network, after federal agencies failed to respond to separate petitions filed by the groups to strengthen protections for all loggerhead populations in the U.S. dating back to 2007.

“The Southeast’s nesting loggerheads swim thousands of miles through an obstacle course of human-made hazards,” said Jaclyn Lopez, a Florida attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Protected beach habitat will help ensure that when they reach our beaches, exhausted and ready to nest, they’re met with true southern hospitality: plenty of food, good conditions for nesting, and safe beaches for hatchlings to leave their nests so they may someday return to continue the cycle of life.”

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

US Fish and Wildlife Service set to ID vital nesting areas for loggerhead sea turtles

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The US Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of identifying vital nesting sites for loggerhead sea turtles.

The full press release:

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Service Identifies Coastal Beach Habitat Important for Recovery of Northwest Atlantic Population of Loggerhead Sea Turtles

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has begun the process of identifying coastal beach habitat important for the recovery of the threatened Northwest Atlantic Ocean population of loggerhead sea turtles, as directed by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency has preliminarily identified portions of island and mainland coastal beaches in six states to propose as critical habitat, and is seeking public comment on the proposed rule.

The proposed critical habitat areas include 90 nesting beaches in coastal counties located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. The proposed areas incorporate about 740 beach shoreline miles and account for approximately 84 percent of the documented nesting (numbers of nests) within these six states.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Gray wolf to be removed from Endangered Species List in Great Lake states

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Early this afternoon, I received a press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, indicating the gray wolf will be removed from “the list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants” in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and in portions of adjoining states.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the wolf populations have recovered in the region enough to prompt this move.

The news of the recovery of the populations is great, but I always worry when a formerly endangered species is removed from the list. I want to make sure these animals maintain some degree of protection, otherwise it is too easy for them to return to the list.

The Associated Press story included the following troubling paragraphs –

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