Help Save Aquatic Animals
Each year, orcas leap through the air for a handful of fish, and dolphins are ridden by human performers as if they were water skis. Employees at marine parks like to tell audiences that the animals wouldn't perform if
- Share your knowledge with others. Encourage friends and family not to patronize boat operators and resorts that promote marine mammal encounter programs.
- Ask the National Marine Fisheries Service to provide increased manpower and money to enforce the federal regulations prohibiting feeding and harassment of marine mammals. Write to: National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Protected Resources; 1315 East-West Highway, 13th Floor; Silver Spring, MD, 20910.
- To report a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, call: NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hot Line: 1-800-853-1964.
- Remain at least 100 yards from marine mammals. Binoculars will ensure that you view at a safe distance. If a whale approaches within 100 yards of your vessel, put your engine in neutral and allow the whale to pass.
- Because many watchers on many vessels have a cumulative effect, limit your observing time to one hour. Avoid approaching the animals when another vessel is near.
- Whales should not be encircled or trapped between boats, or boat and shore.
- Offering food, discarded fish, or fish waste is prohibited.
- Do not touch or swim with marine mammals. Never attempt to herd, chase, or separate groups of marine mammals or females from their young.
- If your engine is not running, whales may not recognize your location. To avoid collisions, make noise, such as tapping the side of the boat.
- Do not handle pups. "Hauled out" seal or sea lion pups may appear abandoned when the mother is feeding. Leave them alone.
- When viewing hauled out seals or sea lions, try not to let them see, smell, or hear you.
Both orcas (commonly known as killer whales) and dolphins are members of the dolphin family Delphinidae -- orcas are the largest members. More than 500 orcas, dolphins, and other members of the dolphin family are held in captivity in the United States. Before the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was passed in 1972, some 1,133 dolphins were captured in U.S. waters. Since 1961, 134 orcas have been captured worldwide for aquariums; of those only 28 are still alive, when a normal lifespan in the wild is 50 years. While the MMPA made it more difficult to capture marine mammals from the wild, aquariums can still apply for permits or import animals caught in other countries. Whether wild caught or captive born, orcas and dolphins in captivity are sentenced to a life of confinement deprived of normal social and environmental interaction. The following are some of the myths surrounding captive marine mammals.
- Do not patronize any form of entertainment that uses animals. Tell your friends and family to boycott all aquariums that hold captive marine mammals for entertainment. Support only those aquariums involved solely in the rehabilitation and release of marine mammals, or the care of animals that cannot be released.
- Support legislation to protect captive and wild marine mammals. If you witness a wild marine mammal being harassed or poached, contact the National Marine Fisheries Service. The national toll-free phone number for the enforcement division is 1-800-853-1964.
- If you witness a captive marine mammal being neglected or mistreated at a marine park, contact the national headquarters of the U.S. Department of Agriculture:
- Eliminate or decrease fish from your diet.
- Support legislation that sets strict standards for commercial fishing.
- Urge National Parks, National Marine Sanctuaries and National Wildlife Refuges to prohibit commercial and recreational fishing within their boundaries.
- If you witness a marine mammal being harassed by fishermen or injured by fishing gear, contact the National Marine Fisheries Service. The toll-free, national phone number for the enforcement division is 1-800-853-1964.
- If you witness any other wild animals (ducks, geese, raccoons, etc.) being harassed by fishermen or injured by fishing gear, call your state Fish and Wildlife or Fish and "Game" department listed in the Government section of your local phone book.
- When visiting a beach, lake or river, pick up any discarded fishing gear that you see and dispose of it properly.
- 79% of the sealers did not check to see if an animal was dead before skinning it.
- In 40% of the kills, a sealer had to strike the seal a second time, presumably because it was still conscious after the first blow or shot.
- Up to 42% of the seals they examined were likely skinned alive.
While some claim the manatee is ugly, with ‘a face only a mother could love,’ most people seem drawn to this marine creature, describing it as homely and having the appeal of a plump grandmother with flippers like oven mitts, outstretched as if inviting a hug.
Each year, people are amazed to see ducks and ducklings in the most unlikely places, such as walking single-file through city streets or nesting under bank teller windows! Luc
Sea turtles, air-breathing reptiles with streamlined bodies and large flippers, are well adapted to life in the marine environment. They inhabit tropical and subtropical ocean waters throughout the world.
The conservation and recovery of sea turtles requires multi-lateral cooperation and agreements to ensure the survival of these highly migratory animals. NOAA Fisheries has a broad national and international program for the conservation and recovery of marine turtles. The Office of Protected Resources works closely with 2 international environmental agreements that deal exclusively with sea turtle conservation.