Seals on Trial
Scientists plan to glue submersible cameras onto the seals’ backs, using the footage to prove to fishermen the animals are not harming their way of life.
Fishermen in Hawaii are accusing seals of stealing their fish. The seals, who have been living around Hawaii for millions of years, could argue that fishermen are stealing theirfish. Except that they’re in no position to argue their case … and anyway, they’re not eating any more fish than they ever did.
Now the fishermen are killing the seals. So the government is stepping in on their behalf:[readon]
The “Crittercams,” provided by the National Geographic Society, are the latest tactic to protect a population that is down to just 1,100 in Pacific Ocean waters around Hawaii. The killings were painful blows to a species on course to disappear in 50 to 100 years.
Next month, biologists will start capturing a few seals and gluing cameras to their backs in hopes that the footage will prove the allegations untrue.
The seals had been staging a modest revival around some of the Hawaiian islands, and are seen among sunbathing tourists, who think of them as new arrivals. To combat their cute image, fishermen are saying the seals eat 600 pounds of fish a day. Totally impossible since adult seals weigh on average only 400 pounds.
Posted June 18, 2012, by MichaelMountain