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Killer Whales Are Hunting Boats and Stealing Their Fish (Video)

Sunday, June 25, 2017 5:21
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Pods of killer whales are pursuing the fishing boats of Alaska and stealing the fishermen’s halibut catches, leaving the crew with no fish and out of thousands of gallons of fuel attempting to escape from the fish thieves.

This isn’t a new development that killer whales or orcas, can learn to recognize boats and then steal their catches.

An article from the Journal of Marine Science traces the habit back to at least the 1960s and reveals there were complaints reported by Japanese fishermen.

Recently however, the problem seems to have accelerated in frequency and is getting worse.  

The killer whales are shadowing boats all around Alaska, with the majority of the pack favoring a strip of water between Russia and Alaska, known as the Bering Sea.

Fisherman Robert Hanson complained about how he lost 12,000 pounds of halibut to whales, and 4,000 gallons of fuel getting away.

(Given that one 2014 study found that such thieves could cost boats up to $500 a day, these recent examples seem more serious.)

Mr. Hanson described how a pod tracked him for 30 miles and then stayed in the area with him for 18 hours. 

Another fisherman explained that sometimes the killer whales will take all of the catch — as much as 30,000 pounds in a day — and leave only the halibut “lips” still attached.

As a result of these recurring thefts, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council is now planning to research the extent of this problem.

It’s not clear whether there’s one perfect solution.

In the past, others have tried everything from buying decoys to blasting heavy metal, all to no avail — though some think that using steel traps to protect the fish might be better than traditional fishing line.

At any rate, something probably needs to change.

“It’s gotten completely out of control,” Hanson said.

The video below shows killer whales stealing fish in 1000 feet of water of the far north New Zealand. They know to grab the tails of the fish caught on the lines and it’s then a tug of war, which most times they win!

This video clearly shows this phenomenon is not only happening exclusively in Alaska.

Here’s some fascinating history on Killer Whales working with Australian Aboriginals and early white whalers in Twofold Bay back in the 1830′s

http://www.killersofeden.com/Export7.htm

Posted by: (N.Morgan

References:

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/20/15840336/killer-whale-depredation-fishing-thievery-halibut

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2017/06/18/in-a-bering-sea-battle-of-killer-whales-vs-fishermen-the-orcas-are-winning/

https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/Stocks/plan_team/2016sablefishCIE/Papers_for_website/2013%20Peterson%20Killer%20whale.pdf

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2017/06/18/in-a-bering-sea-battle-of-killer-whales-vs-fishermen-the-orcas-are-winning/

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0088906

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/fish-stealing-whales-take-bite-out-of-black-cod-harvest/

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2017/06/18/in-a-bering-sea-battle-of-killer-whales-vs-fishermen-the-orcas-are-winning/

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