*NEWS*UN URGES PROTECTION FOR DOLPHINS

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*NEWS*UN URGES PROTECTION FOR DOLPHINS

 user 2005-11-24 at 10:08:00 am Views: 93
  • #13104

    UN urges protection for dolphins
    The United Nations says additional protection measures are needed for dolphins and small whales.
    A
    new global survey, released at a conservation meeting in Kenya, finds
    that more than 70% of species are at risk through snaring in fishing
    nets.
    Other major threats include intentional catching, pollution, habitat destruction and military sonar.
    The UN Environment Programme (Unep) is calling for an upgrade of international protection on eight species.
    It
    wants the Ganges river dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin, Northern
    right-whale dolphin and five others species to be given Appendix II
    status under the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).
    Existing protection measures on a further seven species should also be extended, it says.
    A CMS summit is taking place this week at Unep headquarters in Nairobi.
    Well loved
    “Small
    cetaceans are amongst the most well loved and charismatic creatures on
    the planet,” said Unep executive director Klaus Toepfer in a statement.
    “Sadly
    these qualities alone cannot protect them from a wide range of threats;
    so I fully endorse measures to strengthen their conservation through
    the CMS and other related agreements.”
    Appendix II status does not
    confer mandatory protection, but is designed to induce relevant
    countries to draw up conservation agreements.
    Two such agreements
    for small cetaceans are already in place, one in the Baltic Sea, the
    other covering the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
    The Unep report attempts to calculate the relative importance of the various factors which put dolphins and whales at risk.
    It finds that 26.5% of the threat comes from accidental bycatch, 24.9% from deliberate hunting, and 21.2% from pollution.
    Two years ago a scientific study found that about 800 cetaceans die each day through being snared in fishing nets.
    Other
    factors identitied by the new report include habitat degradation,
    depletion of fish stocks on which the cetaceans feed, culling, and
    noise, for example from naval sonar.
    Dolphins’ dive
    Mark
    Simmonds, director of science at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation
    Society, believes that the Unep report may underestimate the true scale
    of the issue.
    “What it’s doing is indicating where there’s very
    strong evidence of a direct threat to a particular species,” he told
    the BBC News website from the Nairobi meeting, “and it’s very difficult
    to get that kind of evidence.
    “Many of these species we know very little about, particularly the deep diving ones.
    “On
    the other hand, we know enough to say that pretty much all the river
    dolphins are threatened, and in fact the next mammal to go extinct will
    probably be a river dolphin – it’s as serious as that.”
    Further
    measures are being debated at the CMS meeting, including a proposal to
    list the Mediterranean population of the short-beaked dolphin onto
    Convention Appendix I.
    This would oblige countries around the Med to
    restore habitat and change trends which are contributing to the
    dolphin’s demise – in this case, principally the reduction in stocks of
    sardines and pilchards which it eats.