US GOVERNMENT MISMANAGEMENT
If ever a species was deliberately driven to extinction, the Gray Whale is a classic case. The efforts of the US Government to remove all protection from the Gray Whales are scandalous. These efforts are not confined to President Bush, President Clinton was no great shakes in terms of Gray whale conservation.
Since 1994 when the species was delisted from the US Endangered Species Act, the conservation efforts by the US government on behalf of the Gray Whale have been a carefully orchestrated symphony of spin with senior bureaucrats becoming the Spin Doctors.
Look at the facts:
• The Gray whale was delisted on the basis of a short letter from the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, representing 14 commercial fishing groups and 19 tribes.
• The five year monitoring period required by the Endangered Species Act was never funded or completed.
• Population count methodology has constantly changed since 1994 with the US government announcing population increases that are biologically impossible.
• The massive population collapse of Gray Whales in 1999/2000 when almost half the population died of starvation was described as a ‘hiccup’ by a senior American bureaucrat.
• A population estimate was carried out in 2001. On the basis of this estimate, all estimates up until 2006/7, were desktop studies based on the 2001 estimate. In 2007, the US submitted a “field report” to the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee asserting the Gray whale population numbered approximately 18,000.
• What the US didn’t tell the IWC was that this estimate was based on the desktop studies of the 2001 estimate.
• The US failed to tell the IWC that the “field report” in violation of provisions of the US Marine Mammal Protection Act which specifies the details which must be included in any Stock Assessment Report.
• The US failed to tell the IWC that 2007 saw the lowest mid-calf count in 30 years.
• This Stock Assessment Report, based on a current information which includes the collapse of calf numbers should have been presented to the IWC.
• Instead, the IWC, based on the “field report” set a quota of 140 Gray whales a year for the next five years. A totally unsustainable quota which will see the Gray Whales go to extinction over a relatively short period of time.
• The US has failed to act in the light of hugely diminished numbers of whales in the Mexican lagoons.
• The US has ignored the fact that over 12% of Gray Whales are so toxic that they have been labelled “stinky whales”.
• The US continues to ignore sightings up and down the migration route in 2007/8 of emaciated whales.
• Reproduction rate has dramatically decreased with females having one calf every 3-4 years instead of once every 2.4 years. A statistic ignored by the US Government.