Bottlenose Dolphins Dying for SeaWorld, IMATA and WAZA in The Cove


By Kirsten Massebeau

The 2013-2014 dolphin drive and slaughter in Taiji, Japan has never been more obviously supported by the captive industry than this year and last. The bottlenose dolphin prized by SeaWorld’s and marine parks worldwide are one of the species that demonstrates the enticing golden hand of captivity as it reaches out to the dolphin hunters sponsoring and encouraging them to capture more dolphins for the ever growing industry. During the current dolphin drive hunting season the ISANA Fisherman’s Union, the dolphin hunters, have had great luck driving in several pods of bottlenose dolphins. For each trained dolphin they can get upwards 175,000 dollars while a dead dolphin will only bring about 400-700 dollars for its meat, less depending on species. The bottlenose are most often used in fertilizer. 

Bottlenose dolphins captured and killed in drive season 2013-2014:

319 bottlenose dolphins have been driven into the cove. 71 bottlenose dolphins have been taken for aquariums while 87 were slaughtered. 160 have been released. The ISANA Union must occasionally release remaining pods if they want their supply to last.(Source)

A Taiji Dolphin at the Dubai Dolphinarium 2012

A Taiji Dolphin at the Dubai Dolphinarium 2012

In a recent interview Ric O’Barry film star and creator of the Academy Award winning documentary The Cove that exposed the Taiji dolphin capture and slaughter had this to say: “The number of dolphins caught last year for captivity was tremendous: about 250. The season before, only 50 dolphins were captured for captivity”.(Source) While SeaWorld would have you think they have no connection to Taiji the absolute opposite is in fact true. In the early 1980′s SeaWorld began buying dolphins from the Iki Island dolphin drives and then moved onto Taiji, drive fisheries. (source)

The captive industry keeps the dolphin drive alive. The meat is toxic for human consumption and in truth the population that eat and use dolphin in Japan is small but as long as the captive industry needs new blood to stock their aquariums the terrible abuse, and slaughter will continue.

The captive industry claims to oppose drive fisheries yet the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) rationalize and reap the benefits of the cruel dolphin drives as does the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA):

Any individual who believes in IMATA’s mission and who supports its goals is welcomed into the membership. This includes extending membership to individuals who work for organizations that acquire dolphins from a drive fishery. A caregiver is welcomed by IMATA even if s/he participates in the selection and collection of live animals on the premise that those animals will benefit as s/he is exposed to the most current best practices in animal care and training. (source)

How can you help? Don’t buy a ticket to a dolphin show or swim with dolphins. Join the ongoing event pressuring WAZA and IMATA to end their long relationship with Taiji drive fisheries HERE. It’s time to end the aquatic circus model created by SeaWorld and accept the fact that dolphins belong in the oceans with their families.

Save the Blood Dolphins – 2013- A year in review


Kirsten Massebeau:

It has been a productive and great year working for Save The Blood Dolphins as an administrator for in 2013! Thanks to the entire team for all their work and all our friends that are working to save cetaceans, and keep them free and safe from anthropogenic causes.

Originally posted on A Dolphin Activist:

What a year 2013!

Introduction:

It’s been a wonderful and productive year for the organization Save the Blood Dolphins. Our administrative team is growing. This year has brought us many joys and some really sad moments.

First, let me introduce you to the administrative team that is the main backbone of our organization. These great passionate men and women, selflessly volunteer their valuable time not only to the plight of the captive dolphin but also for other animals that they render a voice to. Our wonderful team is comprised of different personalities and groups that believe that we can make a difference by uniting our efforts. Kudos and salutations for a job well done team STBD!

Administrative team of Save the Blood Dolphins

Administrative team of Save the Blood Dolphins

January 2013

In January, Mila DeMier traveled to Almerimar, Spain and visited with Promar/Marcos the Dolphin and presented the Promar group with a  donation and volunteered…

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Has Blackfish Sunk the SeaWorld Ship?


By Kirsten Massebeau, Images by Barbara Napoles

Florida Attractions Associations is making a plea to supporters of SeaWorld to come out and voice their support for what appears to be a sinking ship. Simultaneously, CNN News giant posted an article today entitled, “Martina McBride, 38 Special, cancel SeaWorld gig over ‘Blackfish’ backlash”. In the article CNN shares a long list of celebrities who are quickly distancing themselves from SeaWorld since the world changing release of the documentary Blackfish that exposes the tragic lives of captive orcas and the death of Dawn Branchau: “A promoter could put together a whale of a concert series with the acts that have canceled SeaWorld shows in the past several weeks, including Trisha YearwoodWillie Nelson, Cheap Trick, Heart andBarenaked LadiesREO Speedwagon announced its cancellation on Friday“.(Source)

On December 16, 2013 The Florida Attractions Association published a plea for help in stopping so called “fanatics” and “extremists“:

Dear FAA Member,One of our members is under attack.

Unfortunately, a few radical extremist groups are attacking SeaWorld.  CNN network, desperate for ratings, modified their all “news” format to air a skewed documentary denigrating SeaWorld.  A result has been the cancellation of some music groups who had been booked to perform at SeaWorld next spring
The following artists have succumbed to pressure from fanatical extremists. 
(Source)

Florida Attractions Associations (FAA) linked supposed FAA member and “SeaWorld” supporters to a TMZ article, “Stars and Scars” that allowed voting for all those scared stars. SeaWorld’s vote gave readers two choices 1) Shut it down or 2) I like it.(Source) Quickly the “Shut it Down” surpassed, “I like” it despite their efforts.

FAA goes on compelling SeaWorld supporters to fight back by sharing a page called,”SeaWorld Cares”. The page showcases SeaWorld doing rescue work yet artfully placed within the pictures of rescues are captive orcas, SeaWorld’s trademark that has been exposed as nothing more than an aquatic circus.

While the FAA might have the power to encourage some to stand up for the aquatic circus the growing number of people who have seen “Blackfish” are saying no to SeaWorld and that includes children. Cash a five year old boy has made a call action! Join the protest nearest you and if you planned a trip to a SeaWorld please cancel and make Cash’s birthday wish come true!

Join ARFF SeaWorld Orlando protest December 22nd Orlando 2013 at 10am EST here!

PROTEST $EA WORLD $AN DIEGO…WE ARE NOT GOING AWAY UNTIL THE TANKS ARE EMPTY! San Diego SeaWorld, December 22, 2013 at 10am until 1PM PST Join Here

Feel Free to let the Florida Amusement Association know that as long as SeaWorld exploits orcas and dolphins you won’t be spending your vacation money there!

TWEETSTORM: Sochi Olympics Sporting Excellence Not Captive Orcas


By Kirsten Massebeau

Blackfish may have slowed down SeaWorld but it hasn’t slowed down their Russian friends a company called, White Sphere that is busy pulling orcas out of the Sea of Okhotsk. 2012 and 2013 have been successful years for “White Sphere” a conglomerate, and the Russian captive industry. In 2012 they managed to capture the young female orca now known as Narnia and in August of 2013 White Sphere has captured an additional seven orcas during two different operations in the Okhotsk sea. Two of those orcas are headed for China: ” The rumors are China and Moscow where new facilities are coming on stream. To send the whales to China requires CITES permits and we have now found out that at least 2 CITES permits have been issued”(source).  Two other whales are following a different path that  White Sphere hope involves performing at the Sochi Olympics.

On November 26th Russian Orcas on Facebook made a sad announcement to the world: “We have new information that two of the killer whales being held near Vladivostok are soon to be flown across Russia to the Sochi Dolphinarium. Sochi is a busy place these days preparing for the winter Olympics, 7-23 Feb. 2014. The whale captors known for the capturing beluga whales such as those the Georgia Aquarium is attempting to import, are planning on making big money during the Olympics by putting these newly captured orcas on display. These will be the first orcas ever displayed in public in Russia. A sad day for Russia, a sad thing for the Olympics, a very sad situation for two orcas who now will be flying across seven time zones, some 7,427 kilometres (4,614 miles) to spend the rest of what remains of their lives in captivity”.(Source)

On December 2nd Russian Orcas on Facebook confirmed that Narnia was one of the orcas on their way to Moscow: “After a year in a small holding pool near Vladivostok, yesterday 2 Dec., Narnia, a young female orca about 5m long and weighing 2.7 tons, was reportedly sent by cargo aircraft IL-76 to her final destination in a new Moscow Dolphinarium and Aquarium. Along with her was one of the orcas captured this year, a young male only 1.7 tons. They transferred at Krasnoyarsk airport then finished the 10-hour journey across Russia to the new Moscow Aquarium and Dolphinarium, said to be the largest oceanarium in Europe. No more news yet on the 2 orcas said to be going to Sochi for the Olympics”.(Source)

White Sphere and their many partners believe the Sochi Olympics is an opportunity to make a global name for themselves, and to line their pockets with gold as they display captive orcas for the first time in Russia, at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter games. Join us on Friday the 13th of December as we explain to the IOC, Vladimir Putin, White Sphere, and their partners from around the world that their support, and capture of wild orcas is unacceptable! It’s time they watched “Blackfish” and learned orca captivity is coming to an end not a new beginning.

As the documentary “Blackfish” continues to recruit new advocates for orcas let us broadcast the terrible plight of Russian orcas. Be a voice for the Blackfish of Russia! Together we can make a difference! Creating Awareness is what we do!

Friday, December 13, 2013

8:00pm in UTC

  • WORLDWIDE ON YOUR PC (TWITTER)
  • TWEETSTORM TIME ANNOUNCER: ► http://bit.ly/1d2CIOH
    COUNTDOWN TO TWEETSTORM: ► http://bit.ly/1boCamR
    LIST OF TWEETS: ► will be posted SHORTLY BEFORE start of tweetstorm for trending reasons.

Pilot Whales Maybe Victims of Friendly Fire by The Navy


BY Kirsten Massebeau and Barbara Napoles

Pilot whales are again discovered on the Gulf of Mexico that lies within the Navy’s Atlantic Training Range. NOAA’s update:

“The U.S. Coast Guard continued to search for the stranded pilot whales during the weekend with no luck. Around 1pm Sunday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found 11 dead pilot whales on Snipe Point in the lower Keys about 6 miles north of Sugar Loaf Key. We believe these are part of the original pod of 51 stranded pilot whales. A rescue team is in route”.(source)

Whales were riding the tide. When the Gulf emptied they were left on the shelf.

Whales were riding the tide. When the Gulf emptied they were left on the shelf. By NOAA

NOAA ,scientists and ocean activists believe the whales that stranded on Snipe Point, north of Sugarloaf Key are part of the original 51 whales that stranded at Highland Point.

Whales trapped on ocean shelf by low tide.

Whales trapped on ocean shelf by low tide.

Barbara Napoles, experienced ocean navigator, and Floridian,explained it simply: “The current carried the whales to Snipe point, the Gulf is like a bowl that empties it’s contents into the Atlantic at low tide”.

It could be speculated that the whales were unable to navigate due to acoustic damage. They were simply carried by the current and as the Gulf emptied the whales were stranded on the shallow shelf between the keys.

Activists are wondering why NOAA/NMFS seems unaware of the Naval exercise taking place in the Atlantic Training Complex especially considering  there is an OPAREA  A danger zone is a defined water area used for target practice, bombing, rocket firing or other especially hazardous military activities, (a restricted air space used for Naval Exercises and Training) in the Florida Keys:” Via NOAAthe team is waiting to hear from the Navy.”(source)

The “Spartans” of NAS Jacksonville-based Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 70 operate the MH-60R anti-submarine Seahawk helicopter from onboard the Bush and her accompanying ships”.(source) The MH60R helicopter used during the Bush Strike Group Comptuex training exercises is fully loaded, a deadly weapon that has the ability to kill, harm, “take” whales and dolphins. The MH60R is indeed equipped with an impressive array of defensive and counter defensive weaponry:

  • Sonobuoy launcher
  • Raytheon AN/AQS-22 advanced airborne low-frequency (ALFS) dipping sonar.
  • Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire anti-surface missiles.
  • The MH-60R can carry up to three ATK mk50 or mk46 active / passive lightweight torpedoes.
  •  7.62mm machine gun
  • Lockheed Martin AN/ALQ-210 electronic support measures system (ESM)
  • Electronic warfare systems include the ATK AN/AAR-47 missile warner,
  • Laser warning system
  • BAE Systems AN/ALQ-144 infrared jammer and
  • AN/ALE-39 chaff and flare decoy dispenser.
  • Raytheon AN/AAS-44 detecting / tracking system
  • Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and laser rangefinder.
  • Telephonics AN/APS-147 multimode radar, which has inverse synthetic aperture (ISAR) imaging and periscope and small target detection capabilities.
  •  AN/APS-153 radar, with the automatic radar periscope detection and discrimination (ARPDD) capability.

“Scientists will arrive Monday to take samples of these 11 whales to determine cause of death. They are hoping to get better samples to investigate possible disease or biotoxin (e.g., red tide) causes. While there is no evidence to suggest sonar trauma, the team is waiting to hear from the Navy”.(Source)

NOAA/NMFS decision to wait until Monday to even begin the necropsy process on these whales is in itself negligent. The bodies of the whales will  have been decomposing for at least 18 hours and exposed to the elements. In addition, their denial that the whales showed signs related to acoustic trauma ie, disorientation, and inability to navigate as discussed in this article: Underwater sonar systems really DO cause whales to become stranded – because the high frequencies disorientate themseems they are trying to cast the blame away from the Navy and the cetacean victims of their friendly fire.

Short finned pilot whale

Short finned pilot whale by Pablo Gil

While Naval readiness is important when do we begin to question the clear cutting of our oceans by the ever increasing Naval exercises taking place in the waters off our shores. It’s time to clean up our own back yard and question the activities of the Navy and NOAA/NMFS who have rubber stamped their activities.

Update 12/9/2013

We understand that NOAA and the Navy cannot reveal or acknowledge COMPTUEX Naval Exercises because of National Security as was the case with the Cape Cod Strandings. We will be updating as necropsy results become available that we will begin trying to obtain via: the Freedom of Information Act. We encourage all activists to follow up as well.

Follow the NOAA updates on the pilot whales : Here

Naval Exercises Possible Cause of Florida Pilot Whale Strandings


By Kirsten Massebeau and Barbara Napoles

On Tuesday December 3rd  National Park Services found a pod of approximately 51 pilot whales stranded on the edge of the Florida Everglades in shallow waters near Highland Point. They immediately notified NOAA fisheries. On Wednesday December 4th rescuers and scientists arrived on  to assess the situation and attempt to move the pilot whales to deeper water. Rescuers and scientists attempted to use a technique involving sound called  “Oikomi” used by the dolphin hunters of Taiji to herd dolphins to the shallow waters of Hatakejiri Bay, know as “The Cove” where they are slaughtered and captured for the marine parks and aquariums. The banger boats create a semi-circle around the dolphins. They then drop metal poles into the water that they bang on creating a moving wall of sound (source) “On Wednesday, efforts to herd the surviving whales out to sea by forming a semi-circle of boats and making noise by hitting chains on the side and revving the engines did not work”.(Source)

“Of the 51 whales originally stranded, 11 have died, and 5 went missing overnight Wednesday”.(source)

Thursday December 5th rescuers and scientist returned to Highland Point. The remaining 41 whales had left the area: “By Thursday morning, the pilot whales were not in their initial stranding site. As of 11:45am, Thursday, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter spotted three separate pods of approximately 35 whales spread over 1,000 yards (4 nautical miles) seaward of the Seminole Point/Plover Key area (about 9 miles north of previous stranding location). 15 boats were used to again, and did push the whale 10-15 miles out to deeper water approximately 15 feet deep. “The team was unable to locate the remaining 5 whales from the original pod sighting”.(Source)

Friday morning bought more bad news as two whales were seen swimming in 2-3 feet of water off Plover Key nine miles North of the deceased whales found the day prior. In addition,”Seven whales are free swimming in 12-14 feet of water, Southwest of Plover Key. The larger group of 24 whales has not been relocated”. (source)

Many people are wondering why and how these deep water whales stranded on the shallow shelf of the Gulf Basin with some whales more compromised than others. Pilot whales are known to be deep divers that stay far from shallow waters: “They feed primarily on squid, but they may also feed on octopus and fish, all from moderately deep water of 1000 feet (305 m) or more. When they are swimming and probably looking for food, pilot whales form ranks that can be over a kilometer (more than 1/2 mile) long”.(source) When one is sick the others will often follow but the question still remains as to what caused this stranding and terrible suffering and loss of cetacean life?

High school biology teacher and ocean activist Edward Johnson of Cannon Beach, Oregon posted on Facebook about the MH60R helicopter with this statement: “Just in case the Navy starts explaining how they in no way had anything to do with the Everglades whale stranding. This hybred helicopter has the power to damage the echolocation capacity of these pilot whales”(source) The MH60R is indeed equipped with an impressive array of defensive and counter defensive weaponry:

  • Sonobuoy launcher
  • Raytheon AN/AQS-22 advanced airborne low-frequency (ALFS) dipping sonar.
  • Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire anti-surface missiles.
  • The MH-60R can carry up to three ATK mk50 or mk46 active / passive lightweight torpedoes.
  •  7.62mm machine gun
  • Lockheed Martin AN/ALQ-210 electronic support measures system (ESM)
  • Electronic warfare systems include the ATK AN/AAR-47 missile warner,
  • Laser warning system
  • BAE Systems AN/ALQ-144 infrared jammer and
  • AN/ALE-39 chaff and flare decoy dispenser.
  • Raytheon AN/AAS-44 detecting / tracking system
  • Forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and laser rangefinder.
  • Telephonics AN/APS-147 multimode radar, which has inverse synthetic aperture (ISAR) imaging and periscope and small target detection capabilities.
  •  AN/APS-153 radar, with the automatic radar periscope detection and discrimination (ARPDD) capability.

“Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL) is evaluating CSG2 on how well they perform during simulated surface and sub-surface threats and ship movements such as transiting a strait in hostile waters.

“CSFTL will evaluate our ability to perform all the different mission sets,” said Cmdr. Andrew Walton, the operations officer of USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). “This includes everything from counter-piracy to maritime interdiction operations and strike warfare.”(source)

OPAREA. An ocean area defined by geographic coordinates with defined surface and subsurface areas and associated special use airspace. OPAREAs include the following:
Danger Zones. A danger zone is a defined water area used for target practice, bombing, rocket firing or other especially hazardous military activities. Danger zones are established pursuant to statutory authority of the Secretary of the Army and are
administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Danger zones may be closed to the
public on a full-time or intermittent basis (33 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 334).(source pg.49)

While NOAA suggests mobilivirus as the cause of the pilot whale strandings ocean activists are questioning as to why the Bush Strike Group Comptuex exercises December 2nd through 8th have not been mentioned. Considering the location of the pilot whales strandings to OPAREA an area designated for Special Use Airspace and other activities this seems negligent.

The Navy has been given what many are calling an excessive number of takes, ” “The Navy estimates it will harm marine mammals over 33 million times in the next five years”(source) Despite public outcry NOAA/NMFS have gone ahead and given the Navy a Letter of Authorization to increase the harm caused to Marine Mammals using archaic mitigation measures such as “look outs,” people looking at the surface for dolphins and whales.

Upon application from the U.S. Navy (Navy), we the National Marine Fisheries
Service (NMFS) are issuing regulations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act to govern the unintentional taking of marine mammals incidental to training and testing activities conducted in the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area from November 2013 through November 2018. These regulations allow us to issue Letters of Authorization (LOA) for the incidental take of marine mammals during the Navy’s specified activities and timeframes, set forth the permissible methods of taking, set forth other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, and set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of the incidental take.
DATES: Effective November 14, 2013, through November 13, 2018.(source pg1)

While National Security is important to all American’s when is the price too great to the ocean and ocean life such as the pilot whale who is actually a dolphin, highly evolved and intelligent? We must question whether we have the right to take their lives in the name of training for war.

Naval testing activities in the Atlantic Training Complex can “Take” 15,701 class B harassments and 153 pilot whale deaths within a one year period and 74,614 level B “Takes” and 163 level A recorded death of pilot whales over the five year period(source)

Naval training can “Take” 101,252 level B harassments and 3 pilot whale deaths within a one year period and 506,240 level B harassments and 15 recorded Level A deaths of pilot whales over the 5 year period (source)

Our voice is their only hope. As ocean advocates we must  stand up and speak up and out for the dolphins, whales and all the ocean life that is going to be impacted by the Navy’s ever increasing war games in the oceans. We must demand transparency, we must demand acoustic necropsy and access to those results.

The global community has a right to speak up for the whales and dolphins. Whalers and the captive industry are constantly being reminded by activists that they do not in fact own the whales and the dolphins that inhabit the oceans. Surely we must have the same voice in speaking out against the Navy and their ever increasing training exercises and war games that have the capacity to clear cut our oceans of whales, dolphins and many other species of ocean life.

Update 12/9/2013

We understand that NOAA and the Navy cannot reveal or acknowledge COMPTUEX Naval Exercises because of National Security as was the case with the Cape Cod Strandings. We will be updating as necropsy results become available that we will begin trying to obtain via: the Freedom of Information Act. We encourage all activists to follow up as well.

Follow the NOAA updates on the pilot whales : Here

The US Navy vs. Nature


Kirsten Massebeau:

How did we let this happen.

Originally posted on Tim Zimmermann:

Just catching up on the bad news that the National Marine Fisheries Service has signed off on the Navy’s plan to inundate whale and dolphin habitat, otherwise known as the oceans, with harmful sonar:

While the Final Rule is not yet available to review (the website link provided by the agency doesn’t have the Final Rule), it appears from NMFS’ release that it has adopted the course laid out in its Proposed Rule.  There, it found that millions of instances of harm to the area’s whales and dolphins (including habitat abandonment, temporary hearing loss, and in some instances permanent hearing loss, injury to internal organs, and death) constitutes a “negligible impact” to the species harmed.

And once again, NMFS is finding that that the most severe impacts (temporary and permanent hearing loss and death) can be “minimized” by a Navy lookout regime that is wholly inadequate and ineffectual.

Such nonsense…

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