Whale Safe Oceans: Preventing Entanglements off the U.S. West Coast - Oceana USA
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Report | October, 2020

Whale Safe Oceans: Preventing Entanglements off the U.S. West Coast

 

Whales and sea turtles are increasingly becoming entangled in fishing gear in the Pacific Ocean off the U.S. West Coast. Along with other threats, entanglements in fishing gear can impede the ability of endangered humpback whale, blue whale and Pacific leatherback sea turtle populations to recover to healthy levels. Prior to 2010 there was an average of eight reports of whale entanglements per year. In recent years, these numbers have spiked, to a high of 56 confirmed whale entanglements in 2016, due to warming ocean waters concentrating forage species that whales feed upon close to shore in areas that overlap with fishing grounds.

Oceana campaigns to make the oceans a safer place for whales and sea turtles by advocating for science-based management solutions that reduce the overlap of feeding whales and turtles with conventional crab traps, which use a vertical line that connects a metal trap resting on the seafloor to a buoy floating at the surface. This is accomplished through time and area closures, and by using innovative popup fishing gear to reduce the number of wildlife entanglements in crab traps while ensuring that fishermen can continue to make a living and provide fresh seafood.

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Media Contacts

Ashley Blacow-Draeger, 831-643-9220, ablacow@oceana.org

Jamie Karnik, 907-586-4050, jkarnik@oceana.org