Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Marine Mammals As Food: Live Science reports on increases in hungry nations

While in some nations, farmers are subsidized to not grow crops, or vital staples are funneled towards ethanol fuel, or valuable aquaculture goes unfunded, other poorer nations have hungry coastal populations that are turning to the seas for sustenance. And what they are feeding on might surprise you.

A brief article in Live Science notes that more and more under-developed nations have people feeding on marine mammals like dolphins, seals, polar bears, and manatees. Jennifer Welsh, Live Science staff writer, states that some animals are being hunted while others start out as bycatch but are ultimately consumed.

Humans' Taste for Dolphins & Manatees on the Rise

Fillet of dolphin? Polar bear steak? As world population increases, people in coastal poverty-stricken areas are turning to the ocean for their meals, consuming marine mammals such as dolphins and seals, new research suggests.

Since 1990, at least 87 species of marine mammals — including dolphins, porpoises and manatees — have been served up in 114 countries. They are the victims of hunting and even commercial fishing operations, where they are sometimes caught accidentally, the researchers said.

The fishing of larger marine mammals, like humpback whales, is strictly regulated and monitored; but the extent to which these smaller warm-blooded marine species, including dolphins and seals, are caught, killed and eaten has been largely unstudied and unmonitored.

"International regulatory bodies exist to gauge the status of whale populations and regulate the hunting of these giants," study researcher Martin Robards, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, said in a statement. "These species, however, represent only a fraction of the world's diversity of marine mammals, many of which are being accidentally netted, trapped, and — in some instances — directly hunted without any means of tracking as to whether these off-takes are sustainable."

Source: Live Science

No comments: