Marine mammal research conservation beyond crisis

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marine mammal research conservation beyond crisis

K.N. McGrath’s review of Marine Mammal Research: Conservation beyond Crisis

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Marine Mammal Research: Conservation Beyond Crisis

Andrew J. Direct fisheries interactions pose a serious threat to the conservation of many populations and some species of marine mammals. The most acute problem is bycatch, unintended mortality in fishing gear, although this can transition into unregulated harvest under some circumstances. A growing issue in some fisheries is depredation, in which marine mammals remove captured fish from nets or lines. Depredation reduces the value of catch and may lead to a greater risk of entanglement and the potential for retaliatory measures taken by fishermen.

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Marine mammal conservation presents a number of challenges for scientists and other stakeholders, especially using natural resources in ways that avoid crisis management. Scientists play the special role of providing vital information to decision makers to help them understand long-term consequences of their actions and avoid crises before they develop. The contributors to this visionary work look beyond the current crises to present a compelling argument about how science, if conducted properly, can provide insights that minimize crisis management and implement more anticipatory action. Despite the significant reduction of marine mammal harvesting, stocks of some species remain greatly reduced or are in decline. This volume provides an overview of the current state of marine mammal populations and identifies the major obstacles facing marine mammal conservation, including fisheries, sonar and other noise pollution, disease, contaminants, algal booms, and habitat loss. The contributors chart a scientifically-supported plan to direct marine management toward a well-defined recovery protocol. This comprehensive resource will be indispensable for marine mammal biologists, oceanographers, conservation program managers, government regulators, policy makers, and anyone who is concerned about the future of these captivating species.

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Book Review: Marine Mammal Research: Conservation Beyond Crisis

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Marine mammals stranding on coastal beaches is not unusual. However, there appears to be no single cause for this, with several causes being probable, such as starvation, contact with humans for example boat strike or entanglement with fishing gear , disease, and parasitism. We evaluated marine mammal stranding off the Washington and Oregon coasts and looked at offshore earthquakes as a possible contributing factor. Our analysis showed that offshore earthquakes did not make marine mammals more likely to strand. We also analysed a subset of data from the north of Washington State and found that non-adult animals made up a large proportion of stranded animals, and for dead animals the commonest cause of death was disease, traumatic injury, or starvation. The causes of marine mammals stranding on coastal beaches are not well understood, but may relate to topography, currents, wind, water temperature, disease, toxic algal blooms, and anthropogenic activity.

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