Subject: Study on American perceptions on marine mammals (fwd)

Mike Williamson (pita@www1.wheelock.edu)
Fri, 25 Jun 1999 07:37:34 -0400 (EDT)

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Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 17:41:16 -0700
From: MARMAM Editors <marmamed@UVic.CA>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
     <MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA>
To: MARMAM@UVVM.UVIC.CA
Subject: Press Release - Study on American perceptions on marine mammals              (fwd)

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Press release issued June 21, 1999:

STUDY REVEALS AMERICAN PERCEPTIONS OF MARINE MAMMALS
Most Americans Favor Preservation Over Commercial Exploitation

WASHINGTON - The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) today released
findings of a nationwide study representing the first comprehensive
overview of how Americans view marine mammals. Overall, the study,
conducted by Stephen R. Kellert of Yale University's School of Forestry
and Environmental Studies, indicates that Americans: oppose commercial
whaling; support the protection of marine mammals over commercial fishing
interests; have serious concerns about captive display of marine mammals
in zoos and aquariums; support the limitation of various economic
activities in the ocean that harm marine mammals; and support the various
goals of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act as well as the scientific
and policy oversight responsibilities of the Marine Mammal Commission.

        The Kellert Study surveyed 1,000 residents throughout the United
States based on: age; education; place of residence; gender; knowledge of
marine mammals; visits to zoos or aquariums; and membership in an
environmental organization, among other things. The study holds a margin
of error of +/- 3.5 percent.

        "This study confirms what we at The Humane Society of the United
States have long known: Americans are concerned about marine wildlife and
want to ensure its preservation," said Dr. John Grandy, senior vice
president of wildlife protection at The HSUS. "These findings clearly
indicate that marine mammals possess considerable support among the
majority of Americans today."

        Specific conclusions from the report include:

Commercial Whaling
                        Widespread opposition is expressed among most
Americans (70%) toward commercial whaling under any circumstance. Alaskan
residents, the elderly, those less educated, those who know less about
marine mammal issues, those who fish and those without memberships to
environmental organizations are generally less opposed to killing whales.
 Seventy percent of Americans morally object to killing whales and do not
favor harvesting whales because of their presumed intelligence.

Protection of Marine Mammals Over Commercial Fishing Interests

        Ninety percent of Americans support protection of
marine mammals over commercial fishing interests, even if it results in
higher consumer prices. Alaskan residents, the elderly, those less
educated, those who know less about marine mammal issues and those who
fish are slightly less supportive of marine mammal protection

        The most preferred strategies for mitigating conflicts between
marine mammals and commercial fishing are non-lethal as opposed to lethal
means, including relocation of marine mammals and/or commercial fishing
operations.

Captive Display of Marine Mammals in Zoos or Aquariums

        Ninety percent of Americans object to captive display of marine
mammals in zoos and aquariums unless the animals are well cared for, and
demonstrate results in education and scientific benefits.

        Nearly 90 percent support government restrictions on exporting
marine mammals to countries with captive facilities that do not meet
American educational and/or treatment standards.

        More than 80 percent object to interfering with the behavior of
whales for whale watching.

        Nearly 75 percent endorse whale watchers paying a small fee to
help pay the costs of whale conservation and management.

Economic Ocean Activities Harmful to Marine Mammals

        Americans support limiting various economic development activities
in the ocean that harm marine mammals, including commercial shipping
(75%), disposing wastes (80%), chemical pollution (80%), and oil/gas
extraction and transport (80%). Alaskans generally object less than
non-Alaskans to oil/gas development, although a majority of Alaskans
oppose this activity if it injures or kills marine mammals.

Government Programs and International Relations

        Most Americans (90%) strongly support various goals of the U.S.
Marine Mammal Protection Act, as well as maintaining the scientific and
policy oversight responsibilities of the Marine Mammal Commission, a
non-partisan advisory body established under the Marine Mammal Protection
Act.

        Eighty percent strongly support imposing trade penalties or
denying access to resources in American waters of nations that violate
American or international marine mammal protection laws and agreements.

        Most Americans (70%) favor restricting various activities within
marine sanctuaries to protect marine mammals and other marine life.

        The Kellert Study indicates that marine mammals, especially
whales, and to a somewhat lesser extent seals and sea lions, enjoy public
interest and concern for their welfare and conservation. Most Americans
consistently indicate a desire to modify or alter human activities in the
marine environment to protect marine mammals, even if it necessitates
sacrifice on society's part.

        The HSUS is the nation's largest animal protection organization
with more than seven million members and constituents. For more
information on marine wildlife, visit us on the Internet at hsus.org.


Naomi A. Rose, Ph.D.
Marine Mammal Scientist
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
ph: 301/258-3048
fax: 301/258-3080
email: nrose@hsus.org
http://www.hsus.org


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