Marine mammals are `not competing' with humans

Liverpool Echo
Thurs 13 May 2004

MARINE mammals and humans are not in competition for the same fish stocks,according to the first global study of its kind.

The research,outlined in this week's New Scientist magazine, contradicts a theory which has been used to justify seal culls and whale hunting.

The study claims that around 80% of fish caught for human consumption come from regions which are seldom used as feeding grounds by marine mammals.

And it says 99% of marine mammals' feeding takes place in areas which rarely attract fishing fleets. Marine biologist Kristin Kaschner,of the University of British Columbia, unveiled the research at the World Fisheries Congress in Vancouver last week.

She said: "Marine mammals are not likely to have a large impact on large fisheries. And the other way around, large fisheries are not likely to have a large impact on wide-ranging marine mammals."

An estimated 800 million tonnes of fish are eaten by mammals such as whales, seals and porpoises each year.