While it’s true that false killer whales are not actually whales but dolphins, it’s not true that false killer whales are known as the “liars of the deep.” Confused? Don’t be, because Earthjustice announced today that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has just settled a court case brought earlier this year by the environmental activist group and has pledged to “finalize and implement protections” for the incredible creatures, which have been devastated by longline fishing in Hawaiian waters.
“For more than two years, the Fisheries Service has had sitting on its shelf a plan to protect Hawaii’s false killer whales that reflects the consensus of expert biologists, longline fishermen and conservation groups,” said Brendan Cummings of the Center for Biological Diversity, a member of the take reduction team that the Fisheries Service convened in 2010, in an Oct. 17 Earthjustice press release. “With the fishery continuing to kill false killer whales at rates far beyond what they can sustain, it’s long past time for the agency to get that plan off the shelf, put it into action, and start saving whales.”
According to the Earthjustice news statement, “each year, longline fishing kills an average of more than 13 false killer whales from the ‘Hawaii Pelagic Stock’ (animals found more than 22 nautical miles from the main Hawaiian Islands), nearly 50 percent more than what the agency has said that population can sustain.”
But now, apparently, those numbers will go down. Hopefully.
For more information on false killer whales, and some fairly disturbing images of them being snagged by fishing lines, check out Earthjustice’s website.