We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Harp Seal Population Loses 2011 Pups
The bad news is that if the thin
ice conditions continue, then the mature seal population will shortly collapse
as replacement becomes impossible.I
hate to say this, but eliminating the cull will be irrelevant.This is a nasty natural event that the
predators have no say in.
The wild seal harvest is a barely
used resource to start with and one that happens to be the mainstay of the
Arctic lifeway, but not of course the fishermen in the Gulf
of St Lawrence.
Harvesting while the population
is contracting in this case is likely plausible although it is a rare
conclusion for such cases.This is
effectively salvage harvesting.One presumes
a smaller stock could survive a sustained period of low ice as they appear to
have done so in the past.
The seal harvest has received unceasing
media pressure for decades and it is always hard to defend any wild harvest
from the natural emotional appeal generated by the images generated.Yet this harvest gathers attention that more
rightly needs to be applied to establishing an international wild harvest
husbandry protocol that every operator adheres to.
A key aspect of such a protocol
would be the establishment of natural refugia plausible representing as mush as
half the natural fishing grounds world wide.
Canadian seal cull 'unnecessary due to climate change'
Canada faced fresh calls to
shut down its commercial seal hunt on Thursday, following new evidence that
death rates among seal pups had dramatically increased due to thinning winter
The study, by scientists from DukeUniversity and the International Fund
for Animal Welfare, was the
first to track declining sea ice cover in all four harp seal breeding grounds
in the North Atlantic – with devastating
David Johnston, research scientist at the Duke University Marine Lab,
said: "The kind of mortality we're seeing in eastern Canada is dramatic. Entire year
classes may be disappearing from the population in low ice years. Essentially
all of the pups die."
Satellite records of ice conditions since 1979 showed that ice cover
had fallen by as much as 6% every decade. The research is published in the
journal PLoS ONE.
Up to 80% of the seal pups born in 2011 were thought to have died
because of lack of ice, according to the department of fisheries and oceans.
The study adds additional weight to the long campaign by animal protection
groups against the seal hunt.
IFAW said on Thursday that Canada should work towards ending
the commercial seal hunt for good, compensating the hunters and retraining them
for other jobs.
"It is time for the Canadian government to face the reality that
the commercial sealing is neither viable nor necessary," the organisation
Russia recently banned the import of harp seal
pelts. The European Union allows only Inuit seal products.
Female harp seals depend on stable winter sea ice as a safe place to
give birth and nurse their young, until the pups are grown enough to hunt on
their own. The seals typically seek out the thickest, oldest patches of sea ice
each February and March.
The seals are able to adapt to short-term changes in ice conditions, Johnston said. But it was
unclear the animals would be able to
make a long-term move to new breeding grounds with more stable ice, such as
those off east Greenland.
Thousands of seals still return each year to their traditional breeding
grounds in the Gulf of St Lawrence or off Newfoundland – despite the declining ice.
"There's only so much ice out there, and declines in the quantity
and quality of it across the region, coupled with the earlier arrival of spring
ice breakup, is literally leaving these populations on thin ice," Johnston
said. "It may take years of good ice and steady population gains to make
up for the heavy losses sustained during the recent string of bad ice years in