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18th October, 2013

Pup trapped in gill net released in the ‘Coast of Seals’ Reserve

by CBD-Habitat Foundation

The ‘Costa de las Focas’ Marine and Coastal Reserve was created in 2001 by CBD-Habitat Foundation with the support of local fishermen and regional authorities, with the objective of protecting the breeding caves of the last Mediterranean monk seal colony in the world, located on the Cabo Blanco peninsula (Mauritania). Since then, every single day, the surveillance team has been present to prevent the setting of fishing gear and deter goose barnacle pickers and other potential threats or disturbance to the breeding caves and vicinity. → Continue reading Pup trapped in gill net released in the ‘Coast of Seals’ Reserve

13th October, 2012

DLNR, NOAA appeal for help in preventing entanglements

News release, US Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), 5 October 2012
Fishing hook

Photo courtesy NOAA

The Department of Land and Natural Resources and NOAA Fisheries announce that since the beginning of 2012, NOAA Fisheries, DLNR, and partners have responded to 13 seal hooking incidents involving ten individual Hawaiian monk seals.

Due to early reporting, seven of the 11 live cases ended successfully with intervention from authorized federal and state agency monk seal responders.

Two cases ended in the seal ridding itself without intervention, and although an intervention was attempted, one seal remains hooked to this day.

Three cases ended in deaths.

Most recently, on Oct. 2, 2012, the monk seal locally known as “RK54” was found dead near the Ninini Light house on Kauai. The seal swallowed a hook, became entangled in the line, and died. RK54 was born in April 2011 to RK22 (mother of the “famous” KP2 who resides at Waikiki Aquarium).

→ Continue reading DLNR, NOAA appeal for help in preventing entanglements

14th May, 2012

DLNR, NOAA urge reporting of monk seal incidents

News Release, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii, 11 May 2012

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and NOAA Fisheries announced this week that since March 2012, NOAA Fisheries, DLNR, and partners have responded to five seal hooking incidents involving four individual Hawaiian monk seals. Three of these responses are still in progress.

NOAA and DLNR would like to take this opportunity to remind fishermen that monk seal deaths and injuries from fishing interactions can often be prevented, and adverse impacts to fishermen and seals can be reduced through early reporting of incidents.

“Monk seals are a vital part of Hawai‘i’s marine and cultural environment,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson. “While DLNR and NOAA seek to address all adverse impacts on Hawaiian monk seals, we want to acknowledge the cooperation of Hawai‘i fishermen and emphasize that we do not consider fishing interactions in the main Hawaiian Islands to currently pose a major threat to monk seal recovery.”

NOAA Fisheries Service data indicate that a total of 77 hooking incidents have been reported over the past 10 years, with at total of nine incidents in 2011 and eight incidents reported thus far in 2012 (including the five incidents discussed here). [More]

Source: DLNR, NOAA ask for fishermen’s kokua in reporting monk seal hooking or entanglements, News Release, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii, 11 May 2012 (PDF).

13th May, 2012

Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian assists in monk seal surgery

Media Watch, Vancouver Aquarium, 11 May 2012

Dr. Haulena gives endangered monk seal anaesthesia for surgical procedure (NOAA)

Vancouver Aquarium veterinarian, Dr. Martin Haulena, received an emergency call on May 9 to fly to Hawaii to help support a local rescue effort.

He participated in two successful procedures to remove accidentally-ingested fishing hooks from endangered monk seals on May 10.

One of the monk seals required surgery to remove the hook, which was lodged deep in the esophagus near the opening to the stomach. Dr. Haulena performed the anesthesia and collaborated with Dr. Robert Braun and veterinarians at the Honolulu Zoo to remove the hook. The seal is in recovery and rehabilitation is expected to take several days to weeks. [More]

Source: Aquarium veterinarian helps save monk seals, Vancouver Aquarium, 11 May 2012.

31st March, 2012

Monk seal death in Libya

Ibrahem Benamer, Natural Resources and Environmental Science,
Omar Mukhtar University (OMU), El-beida, Libya

On the 25 March in the area of Ain Gazzalla (Northeast Libya near the Egyptian border, 32.23284 N, 23.2848 E) a group of fishermen found a dead female monk seal trapped in their net. The case was reported to the coastguard who in turn informed the National Marine Laboratory. The carcass is now in their possession at the Lab and an autopsy is being arranged during this week.

This event is the only confirmed case of monk seal existence in eastern Libya since Norris 1972 [Norris, W.J.T. 1972. Monk Seals in Libya. Oryx 11: 328-330.], which may indicate that this critically endangered species can still be found in the area or close by, which will support the importance of the area as an MPA.

A report will be issued after the autopsy; meanwhile, pictures taken by the fishermen can be found on Flickr.

23rd June, 2011

FAO adopts watered down protection measures

The FAO’s General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) adopted a series of recommendations aimed at protecting monk seals from accidental entanglement in fishing gear at its 9-14 May 2011 session in Rome.

Recommendation GFCM/35/2011/5 on Fisheries Measures for the Conservation of the Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus) in the GFCM Competence Area calls for Contracting Parties and Cooperating Parties of the Commission (CPCs) to implement the following measures:

— Prohibit fishing vessels from taking on board, transporting or landing monk seals unless required to assist in the rescue of injured individuals, and only then with prior official authorisation.

— Seals encountered entangled in fishing gear must be released unharmed and alive.

— Seals found dead in fishing gear must be brought ashore and the authorities  promptly notified (at the latest upon arrival at port).

— Any incidental take and release must be recorded in the vessel’s logbook, and reported to the relevant authorities for onward notification of the GFCM Secretariat.

— No later than 2015, CPCs should adopt fisheries management measures designed to attain a “very low and close to 0 risk” of incidental take and mortality of monk seals in fishing activities.

— CPCs must provide the GFCM Secretariat with the geographical positions of already known, past and current monk seal caves, with corresponding information on fleets deploying bottom-set nets within a maximum 20 mile range. Preliminary maps and data should be completed by December 2011, and transmitted to the GFCM no later than 31 January 2012. (Access to such potentially sensitive data, the document is at pains to point out, will be restricted.)

→ Continue reading FAO adopts watered down protection measures

26th September, 2010

Update from Papahānaumokuākea

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

The August 2010 monthly update provides the following information on Hawaiian monk seals from the FWS Papahānaumokuākea team:

Two Hawaiian monk seals in danger of entanglement, as they rest on a pile of derelict fishing gear. John Klavitter/USFWS

“Hawaiian Islands NWR – French Frigate Shoals/ Tern Island […] Staff conducted marine debris pickups throughout the month. On one day alone, a full pallet tub of debris, nets, rope, wire, and trash was removed from East Island. Removal of netting, ropes, and wire is especially important to prevent Hawaiian monk seals and green turtles from potentially becoming entangled. […]

The French Frigate Shoals updates regarding Hawaiian monk seal activities are: 36 monk seal pups have been born; 5 are still nursing; 21 have weaned (of which 3 were killed by sharks); 1 pup died before it was weaned; and 6 pups have disappeared. Two weaned pups with nonfatal shark bites were frequenting East Island. […]

→ Continue reading Update from Papahānaumokuākea

16th April, 2010

Gillnet proves deadly for female monk seal

Press Watch, Honolulu Star Bulletin, April 16, 2010

A female monk seal, nicknamed Mikala, was found drowned Tuesday, wrapped in a gillnet off of Bellows Beach.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is investigating the apparent drowning of a 9 1/2 -month-old Hawaiian monk seal that was discovered tangled in a gillnet—the sixth such death since 1976.

At 10:26 a.m. Tuesday, the female monk seal, identified by scientists as RA14, was spotted floating off Bellows Beach. Lifeguards discovered the seal wrapped in a monofilament gillnet and pulled her from the water.

Necropsy results determined the seal, nicknamed Mikala, died of an apparent drowning due to the entanglement. […]

The Conservation and Resources Enforcement Division seized the netting as part of its investigation. It is unknown who owns the net.

Under state law all lay nets must be registered with the Department of Land and Natural Resources. It is unlawful to leave a lay net unattended for more than a half-hour. Nets also must be inspected within two hours after they are set.

Hawaiian monk seals are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Killing one is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $50,000 fine. […]

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