Monday 18th May, The Malta Independent. Front page.
Dolphinarium lambasted in report
An international report just out has slammed the commercial use of Black Sea dolphins including those performing in Malta. While calling for an immediate halt to trade for captive display or breeding, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) has also urged tourists to boycott dolphinariums and theme parks housing such dolphins.
It appears that the Icelandic Government has reached a formal agreement with the Free Willy Keiko Foundation (FWKF) to allow Keiko back to his native waters, where he will initially be kept in a sea-pen.
Once the construction of the sea-pen is complete, it will be transported to Iceland in the next two months. It will be firmly anchored into place and the FWKF anticipates that Keiko could be transported to Iceland towards the end of this year.
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) today welcomed the European Union support for a proposal to phase out the use of driftnets in European waters.
The proposal includes a phase out of all driftnets by European nationals and a ban on the use of driftnets in European waters. The nets must be phased out by the December 31st of the year 2001. Both France and Ireland opposed the ban but were defeated after a late evening session. Italy, with the largest fleet of driftnetters in the region, abstained on the crucial vote.
The UK national newspaper, the Guardian, (03/06/98) reported that the cod fishery in the Barents and North Seas is plunging into crisis. A report by the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) on the Barent's Sea fishery is believed to indicate that the cod population of the Barent's Sea has been over-estimated. Norway has repeatedly claimed that this is one of the best managed fisheries in the world.
In a blatant attempt to undermine another international convention, Japan is using lessons learned within the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to increase its fishing of the endangered Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyyi).
Harpooned Whale Turns on Boat
OSLO, Norway (AP) -- A harpooned whale fighting for its life rammed the Norwegian boat that shot it, breaking the vessel's mast and hurling two crewmen into the icy waters.
The whale escaped, but it was unclear if it survived, the Oslo newspaper Verdens Gang reported Tuesday. The two crewmen, one of whom suffered cracked ribs, were rescued.
According to the paper, the whaling boat, the Bolga, was off Norway's northern tip on Monday when it harpooned a minke whale, which can grow up to 30 feet in length.
This summer, a brand-new radio station will begin broadcasting from Robson Bight, Vancouver Island, Canada. 'ORCA FM' (88.5 MHz), the world's first round-the-clock 'whale talk radio' will hit the airwaves, although pilot broadcasts will be limited to a 10-km radius of the station. A network of hydrophones will relay the sounds of orcas communicating as they travel through Robson Bight, a reserve adjoining the busy Johnstone Strait, and neighbouring waters.
Most people will have heard of the story of Keiko, the killer whale who starred in the film 'Free Willy'. On discovering that Keiko was suffering in terrible conditions in real life, the public set about demanding that Keiko should be set free, just like in the film.. As a result, Keiko was moved from Mexico to the Oregon State Coast Aquarium, USA, where he is currently being prepared for release back to the wild. This is the first time that an attempt has been made to release a killer whale from captivity and, as such, is an incredibly important project.
It seems that at the end of this year's heated debates at the IWC in Oman, there have been some positive steps made. On the final day, the IWC passed a resolution on the potential effects on human health caused by eating whale meat. This means that the IWC has recognised the risk to humans that high pollution levels in whale meat can have, therefore placing a new obstacle in the way of the whalers. This resolution, alongside the resolutions on environmental threats and the condemnation of Norwegian whaling, represents positive steps by the IWC in the eyes of WDCS.