Subject: Ozone Gap `Deadly as harpoon' (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 15:34:20 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Thu, 23 Oct 97 12:46:00 GMT 
Subject: Ozone Gap `Deadly as harpoon'

Ozone Gap `Deadly as harpoon' for whales

  By Amanda Brown, Environment Correspondent, PA News
   The hole in the ozone layer is as "deadly as the harpoon" to the
dwindling whale population, according to research out today.
   The sun's powerful ultra violet rays pour through the gap,
attacking the reproductive ability of plankton, the tiny animals at
the bottom of the food chain.
   This in turn causes nutrient shortages for fish and whales.
   But a new threat has emerged with the discovery that the Northern
Hemisphere is even more vulnerable to the damaging effects of ozone
depletion than Antarctica, where the problem has been fairly well
   The results were unveiled in an Environmental Investigation Agency
survey published at the International Whaling Commission conference in
Monte Carlo.
   Now the EIA is demanding urgent action to bolster whale
conservation in light of new research.
   Steve Trent, head of campaigns at the EIA, said: "Ozone depletion
is just as deadly as the whaler's harpoon.
   "Some members of the IWC seem stuck in a time warp, and should
start taking these new threats to whales much more seriously. Whale
conservation is no longer just about how many whales we can kill."
   At the base of the food chain, Arctic phytoplankton have a much
smaller capacity than Antarctic phytoplankton to adapt to increased
UV radiation.
   In the Arctic Ocean, a concentration of nutrients near the surface
of the water in ice-edge zones promotes a longer and more intense
exposure to UV radiation.
   Fish species such as cod, on which Northern Hemisphere whales feed,
spawn in fully exposed shallow waters, where they are highly
vulnerable to the adverse effects of increased UV radiation. The
spawning period, which is critical for the species' survival,
coincides with the period of maximum UV radiation in the Arctic region.
   Mr Trent added: "It is madness to contemplate a resumption of
coastal whaling when new and unpredictable threats to whales, such as
ozone depletion, are only beginning to emerge.
   "A 50-year moratorium on all whale hunting is the only sensible
approach when whales are threatened, not just by ozone depletion but
by climate change, industrial fisheries and pollution."

   Chris Stroud, Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society spokesman said
sensible governments should condemn "scientific" whaling as a form of
phoney science and nothing more than a form of continued commercial
   He said the IWC scientific committee had "failed to institute
mechanisms of review which would be generally considered consistent
with good science - those involved in the research are part of the
review and thus even basic standards of impartiality are not met."