Record Number of West Coast Whales Dying in Crab Gear

The Los Angeles Times reports that a record number of whales are getting caught in crab gear off the West Coast.

The Center for Biological Diversity announced disturbing new figures from the National Marine Fisheries Service on Wednesday.

There were 71 reported cases of whales caught in fishing lines off California, Oregon, and Washington last year. Of the 29 caught in identifiable fishing gear, 22 were caught in commercial Dungeness crab gear.

Such entanglements are increasing yearly. There were 61 whale entanglements off the West Coast in 2015, a record high at the time.

Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, told NPR what it’s like when a whale becomes entangled in a giant fishing net:
Sometimes it can drown the whale immediately, or it can happen over weeks, because they get so tired. They eventually die of exhaustion. If the gear is in their mouths, it impedes their ability to feed. It can amputate their tails or other parts of the body. And for younger whales, the gear may wrap around them, but the whale keeps growing and it cuts into their flesh.
World Animal Protection reports that 640,000 tons of gear are lost and pollute oceans each year. Additionally, countless non-targeted marine animals are caught and killed. The National Journal estimates that about 20 percent of all fish caught in commercial trawling nets is “bycatch,” or unwanted animals.

It’s time to withdraw our support from the cruel fishing industry and leave fish off our plates—that is, if we want to save our oceans.

Thankfully, vegan seafood abounds!

Check out all the amazing vegan versions of fish and other seafood, such as Gardein’s fishless filets and crabless cakes, available nationwide.

For compassionate sea-inspired recipes, click here.