|© Doug Perrine/Seapics.com|
New motions filed by STRP and its partners in follow-up to our lawsuit to protect false killer whales specify that a team of experts must immediately be convened to prevent and monitor harm to false killer whales in the high-bycatch Hawaiian longline fishery for swordfish.
See the motion and memo to establish a Take Reduction Team filed June 1, 2009.
View the False Killer Whale biological fact sheet.
In April, STRP, in collaboration with Earthjustice, filed
suit against the National Marine
Fisheries Service, challenging the agency’s failure to devise a plan to
protect false killer whales from the Hawai‘i-based longline fishery. The same longline fishing hooks that kill and injure threatened and endangered Pacific loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles are also responsible for the death of these whales.
View the complaint.
the Hawai‘i-based longline fleet hooks and entangles false killer
whales, resulting in serious injury or death through drowning. The
Fisheries Service’s own studies show that, for nearly a decade, the
Hawai‘i longline fishery has been killing Hawai‘i’s false killer whales
at rates far beyond what the population can sustain.
Back in 2004, under pressure from a previous lawsuit, the National Marine
Fisheries Service re-classified the Hawai‘i-based longline fishery as
“Category 1” fishery. This reclassification triggered the Marine
Mammal Protection Act’s requirement to establish a “take reduction
team", a group of scientists who develop a plan to reduce the deaths of marine mammals in a troblesome fishery. Instead, for more than four years, the Fisheries Service has
done nothing, claiming inadequate funding, while refusing to ask
Congress for additional money.
A December 2008 Government
Accountability Office study found that “the false killer whale is the
only marine mammal for which incidental take by commercial fisheries is
above its maximum removal level that is not covered by a take reduction
team.” Read the GAO study here: http://gao.gov/new.items/d0978.pdf
Our lawsuit is a necessary step to not only protect the false killer whale, but sea turtles, seabirds, dolphins, sharks, and other species killed by Hawaii longliners.