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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Say Goodbye to Grey Whales

The irresponsible and pointless hunting of whales isn't the only threat to their survival. Grey whales populations are dwindling and individuals appear highly stressed due to a lack of food. That's right, we are eating their food, starving the poor bastards out.

There is new evidence that gray whales are now thin and starving, possibly a result of changes in the oceans resulting from global warming and overfishing. This is ominous news for the health of the whales, and our oceans as well.

It has been 25 years since the international community agreed to a moratorium on commercial whaling. There is no question that this major conservation achievement saved many whale species, including gray whales, from the brink of extinction. However, in the past decade, there has been steady erosion in the protection of the world's great whales. This is of concern not only because whales are special creatures that generate awe and wonder but also due to the many roles they play in the ocean ecosystem as predators and prey.


The situation in Lake Victoria (Uganda) is as equally depressing, as commercial, export orientated companies are hoovering the lake of all its fish. Once again, the problem is not local fishermen catching fish to eat or to sell at a local market, it is the organised and industrialised fishing techniques of capital. Simply put, the rich are screwing us and the generations to come.

Lake Victoria is the world's largest tropical lake and the second largest fresh water lake and most of it is found in Uganda. The ecological health of the lake is deteriorating because of a rapidly growing human population, clearance of natural vegetation along its shores and most of all a booming fish export industry, which has caused the disappearance of several fish species.

Although nearly all fishermen are guilty of using unrecommended fishing gear, the international commercial businessmen are the main culprits. The Nile Perch, for example, lives too far out in the open water for the little fishing boats and too big to be caught in the unsophisticated nets. In response to the increased demand for the Nile Perch, commercial fishing has increasingly displaced local fishermen.




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