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Posted Fri Jun 25 2010: from Scientific American:
Unintended whale kills deadlier than intentional whaling
More whales are being killed by chemical and noise pollution, entanglement in nets, climate change or collisions with ships than by whaling itself, delegates to the world's main whaling body said this week. Harpooning whales for their meat and oil pushed many species close to extinction in the last century. Stocks have begun to recover under a moratorium on whaling agreed in 1986, although Japan, Norway and Iceland still hunt the giant mammals. But climate change now means it is harder for whales to find food, ship collisions are growing, pollution is disrupting their reproduction, and fishing nets can kill or wound them, according to delegates at the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) annual meeting in the Moroccan Atlantic city of Agadir.... Marine wildlife experts say growing numbers of whales succumb to "by-catch" -- getting entangled in nets or hooked to fishing lines stretching up to 10 kilometers (6 miles) and known by green campaigners as "curtains of death." Many of the whales which escape succumb to their injuries months or years later.
[Read more stories about: marine mammals, unintended consequences]

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