[MARMAM] Chronic Large Whale Entanglement Review

Michael Moore mmoore at whoi.edu
Wed Jun 13 06:46:11 PDT 2012

The live stranding of a chronically entangled, emaciated humpback in 
Vancouver, BC this week makes this recently published short review 
remain pertinent.

It is available Open Access at:


Journal of Marine Biology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 230653, 4 pages

     Review Article
     The Painful Side of Trap and Fixed Net Fisheries: Chronic 
Entanglement of Large Whales
     Michael J. Moore and Julie M. van der Hoop

Concern over the well-being of marine mammals at sea has focused on 
intentional harvests, both in terms of individual welfare
and population sustainability. Unintentional mortalities from fishing 
gear entanglement are primarily seen as a risk to population
viability. Additionally, larger whales breaking free of, and 
subsequently carrying, fixed trap and net gear are subject to a very slow
demise, averaging 6 months in the case of the North Atlantic right whale 
(Eubalaena glacialis). Chronic cases can involve impaired
foraging, increased drag, infection, hemorrhage, and severe tissue 
damage. The individual suffering of these cases appears to be
extreme. Thus management measures should go beyond legally mandated 
conservation measures to include avoidance of such
scenarios. Seafood consumers could succeed, where laws have failed, to 
demand fishing practices that do not kill whales in this
manner. The effective absence of such demands would seem to reflect the 
cryptic nature of these cases to most consumers.

Michael Moore
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
508 289 3228

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