Tuesday, May 4, 2021

More on those orcas

The National Marine Fisheries Service has provided more information regarding the two orcas taken as bycatch last year.

The orcas died as a result of the bycatch. Or as NMFS put it: "Unfortunately, this was a marine mammal bycatch mortality incident."

NMFS declined to name the vessel involved, saying that information is confidential. However, the agency would say this much: "The killer whales were incidentally taken in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands flatfish trawl fishery."

NMFS provided an observer's photos from the incident. "All identifying information and metadata have been removed or blurred out in these photos in accordance with Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act confidentiality provisions," the agency said.

Readers are advised the images are fairly grisly, and you might find they take a bit of time to download. See the photos here.

What else?

"Observers were able to collect tissue samples from the whales, which have been sent to a lab for genetic analysis and possible identification for stock of origin," NMFS said. "This analysis has not yet been conducted, as regular lab activities have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

Bycatch of orcas in Alaska fisheries is not unprecedented. NMFS cited its most recent technical memo on human-caused mortality and injury of Alaska marine mammals. Search "killer whale" for a number of regrettable orca encounters with fishing vessels and gear — not only trawl but also longline and pot.


Anonymous said...

I think the reason they caught the orcas is because there is a bunch of sablefish in the back ground orcas favorite fish the orcas are probably starving because alot of longliners are switching to pots orcas are getting more desperate to survive

Anonymous said...

I think the reason they caught the orcas is because there is a bunch of sablefish in the background orcas favorite fish if it's a trawler it's no big deal for nmfs the trawlers didn't exceed the ofl for orcas

Anonymous said...

Don't even try to pull that bait and switch. The "long line and pot also have bycatch" is oldest dragger excuse in the book.

From NOAA - the number of dead marine mammals:
longline - 17
Pot - 8
Dragger - 226

They aren't even in the same ball park.

Anonymous said...

Deckboss should ask for more the incident reports with marine mammal deaths. Hundreds of marine mammals killed is interesting stuff. Also why can't they release the name of the vessel? Other by-catch data is published with vessel name.