Demand Protection for False Killer Whales

Target: National Marine Fisheries Service

Goal: Protect false killer whales from long-line fishermen

Given a deadline to prevent the accidental killing of marine mammals, the National Marine Fisheries Service has not succeeded in doing its job. Every year, many false killer whales are caught in long-lines off the coast of Hawaii, and the National Marine Fisheries Service has been floundering on mobilizing their plans. If they don’t act soon, the already dwindling population may be eliminated for good.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act, amended by Congress in 1994, was designed to fully eliminate the death of marine mammals from commercial fishing. The act intended for all actions to be done by 2001 but this deadline came and went, while the NMFS took no action to save the false killer whales. Due to a lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity in 2010, the NMFS pulled together a team of people to determine the current status of the false killer whale, and six months later they drafted a plan to save them. That lawsuit gave them a new deadline to implement the plan, December 16, 2011, but the NMFS has done nothing, despite their own findings that the false killer whale is in grave danger.

False killer whales are an endangered species of dolphin. While they are found in most coastal shores, they are nearly always threatened by humans. Specifically in Hawaii, the long-line style of commercial tuna and ahi fishermen means that the false killer whale is often subjected to the threat of by-catching. The plan in the works by the NMFS calls for long-line fishermen to use “weak hooks;” these hooks can hold a tuna or other such fish, but large mammals caught in lines have the ability to pull away and escape with relatively low harm. Encourage the NMFS to finalize their plan and save the false killer whale.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear National Marine Fisheries Service,

The false killer whale is currently suffering at the hands of fishermen off the coast of Hawaii. I demand that something be done about this. You were directed to take action two decades ago, and still the population of this majestic marine mammal has been hung out to dry. I urge you to finalize your plan and put it into action immediately so that this animal does not become extinct.

As it stands, false killer whales are being accidentally caught faster than they have the ability to reproduce. At this rate, the population will not be able to sustain itself without human intervention. The long-line problem has a simple solution. Make weak hooks a requirement; they will enable the fishermen to catch the fish they intended, and protect all larger marine mammals from by-catching. You have the power to correct this problem. I highly suggest you do something about it.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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