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The population of beautiful and intelligent false killer whales in Hawaii has plummeted to an estimated 123 individuals. At their current rate of decline, they are in danger of extinction throughout their range. Sea Turtle Restoration Project and allies have taken legal actions to increase protections for these marine mammals since 2003, applying constant pressure to reduce interactions with deadly longlines.
Current Management Efforts Failing
Longline fishing gear is an indiscriminate form of industrial fishing with severe bycatch problems. Prior legal actions have already closed the Hawaiian swordfish longline fishery and restricted the tuna longline fishery due to its high take of endangered sea turtles. Observers have confirmed that the rigs, often miles long with thousands of hooks, kill and injure false killer whales, humpback whales, dolphins, other marine mammals, and endangered sea turtles.
The “Curtain of Death”
Todd Steiner, Director of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project said, “The industrial longline fishery is wiping out the oceans’ wildlife species and Hawaii’s false killer whales are only the latest identified victim. This non-selective fishing gear forms a curtain of death with its billions of baited hooks set each year and is driving endangered leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles and seabirds to the brink of extinction.”
For a fact sheet on false killer whales, click here.
To read our most recent press release on this campaign, click here.
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