Cetacean Society International

Whales Alive! - Vol. XI No. 1 - January 2002

News Items

Compiled by William Rossiter

Makah Whaling: NMFS in December reinstated the Makah Indian Tribal subsistence whaling quota, with the right to harvest five gray whales a year through 2002. The issue has nothing to do with subsistence, but NMFS now allows the Makah to hunt whales anytime during the year, even in the protected waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. NMFS' court-mandated Environmental Assessment (EA) had determined, with convoluted logic and science, that a take of five whales per year would not affect the gray whale population. A new EA to "justify" the same yearly quota for the period from 2003 to 2007 will be finished when the U.S. is expected to apply for a new quota from the International Whaling Commission in May. The U.S. Delegation will be forced into another round of embarrassing contortions to justify Makah whaling, again giving up far more significant issues to gain supporters. In response to the continuing travesty, CSI has joined in a legal challenge to the EA, and NMFS' actions, with co-plaintiffs the Fund for Animals, Humane Society of the United States, Australians for Animals, the Great Whales Foundation, and many others.

Sunset Sam: "Sunset Sam, we'll miss you" was the editorial of the St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, on December 6, 2001. Sunset Sam had died two days before, 17 years after having stranded, blind in one eye and suffering from liver failure. Rescued and cherished, Sunset Sam was a handicapped but spirited bottlenose dolphin who spent his days in an echoing concrete shell of a converted water treatment plant, the best the Clearwater Marine Aquarium could afford, but they tried. Sam performed well, at the core of the aquarium's Full Circle Program for handicapped children, and a painter whose work attracted many fans. He was one of a handful of cetaceans that have survived the odds, even handicapped, even in captivity.

License for Dolphins: Like California and Massachusetts, North Carolina now has a special license plate to help cetaceans, with a leaping mother and calf dolphin surrounded by "Protect Wild Dolphins". For information call 252-504-2452, or email kritt@coastalnet.com.

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