SOUTH AFRICA LAUNCHES PROBE INTO DEATHS OF BRYDE’S WHALES

PRETORIA– The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) have launched a full investigation to identify the causes of deaths of three Bryde’s whales in Mossel Bay, in South Africa’s Western Cape Province.

Both departments would like to asssure members of the public that they share their concerns and a full investigation on the death of these whales will be undertaken. The situation will be monitored and measures will be put in place to address identified causes, the departments said in a joint statement Tuesday.

The departments said that currently there is a perception that the Experimental Octopus Fishery may have contributed to the deaths of whales. However, this must still be confirmed, they added.

Other potential causes of death might include ship strikes, other types of fishing gear or natural [causes]. However, as the octopus fishery makes use of lines and buoys which have the potential to entangle whales, ongoing attention is being given to the octopus fishery’s gear design to limit possible whale entanglements, the departments said.

The departments said concerns around octopus fishery, including gear designs, were discussed at a stakeholder workshop co-ordinated by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in June last year. The octopus fishing gear is designed to limit entanglement of large whales, and the designs have demonstrated success in reducing entanglement incidents.

The departments said no entanglement had been reported in octopus fishing gear since January 2018.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK