In the Bering Sea, the orcas are winning
June 20, 2017 6:53 PM   Subscribe

Alaska fishermen are losing the battle against hungry orcas.
posted by clawsoon (31 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hebert, who estimates he's caught millions of pounds of fish in the Bering Sea, said if there are whales he simply doesn't fish anymore.

Does it make me a traitor to my species to root for the orcas?

I suddenly have a fantasy of other animal species rising up to stop humans from exploiting different ecosystems.
posted by signal at 7:03 PM on June 20, 2017 [27 favorites]


Good.
posted by slater at 7:04 PM on June 20, 2017 [6 favorites]


If humans can't limit themselves- which we appear unable or unwilling to do- then I say FUCK YEAH WHALE!!!!
posted by LuckyMonkey21 at 7:11 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Orcas are not whales, they are porpoises, and they are fucking assholes.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:15 PM on June 20, 2017 [16 favorites]


Richard Harris fucks up yet again
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:18 PM on June 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


Assholes.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:22 PM on June 20, 2017


Its denial of basic science to write an article like this and not discuss the overfishing in these areas. the frame forces to you to assume that the conflict is man vs orca, and not man vs man.

iIl support the fisherman s proposal to switch away from long lines to pots, but because pots probably have a much lower rate of bycatch.
posted by eustatic at 7:23 PM on June 20, 2017 [10 favorites]


Assholes.

Get your orca slander right. Fish-eaters aren't mammal-eaters.
posted by bethnull at 7:31 PM on June 20, 2017 [5 favorites]


Why... why don't we just eat orcas? o_0
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 7:41 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


This that Free Willy sequel they been talking about?
posted by jprind at 7:42 PM on June 20, 2017


Wow lots of ignorance about the Bering Sea fisheries and the way they are managed in this thread.
posted by fshgrl at 7:45 PM on June 20, 2017 [7 favorites]


“It’s possible at some point they might start hitting the pot,”

awww yeah! Vape that shit, Orcas! It's better for you!
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:05 PM on June 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


The sperm whales eating fish from the lines, including a report of a sperm whale following a boat for 70 miles was very striking to me. It seems like the apex predators of the sea have had enough of us eating their food supply.

And whether they hit it, or vape it, or go the edible route, figuring out the pot situation might help some of the more asshole-ish whales chill out.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 8:12 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well, hmm, what does Orca taste like? Certainly a problem within the scope of human superduper killer whale killer ingenuity. Eh, nudge nudge, wink wink.
posted by sammyo at 8:17 PM on June 20, 2017


Isn't the solution to use pot traps for halibut and sablefish, and the problem that such fishing techniques are not yet permitted?

FWIW, Alaska has a very strong reputation for fisheries management in the PNW, much better than British Columbia, where I'm from.
posted by My Dad at 8:26 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


you are telling me that these creatures that are called killer whales are up to no good? nooooo

orcas are like nature's own somali pirates only more successful

i say surrender the seas to them and let us embrace sand

or get the russian or tom hanks to fight them
posted by Foci for Analysis at 8:49 PM on June 20, 2017 [3 favorites]


Wow lots of ignorance about the Bering Sea fisheries and the way they are managed in this thread.

Seriously. However, if you have something to add beyond what's covered by the links in the OP, I'd like to cordially invite you to be part of the solution.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 9:28 PM on June 20, 2017 [7 favorites]


It's like throwing breadcrumbs for ducks in the park. It's a shame that the adults are teaching the juveniles to "hunt" in this manner; over time they'll lose some of that institutional knowledge about other hunting techniques if they spend too much time following fishing boats. All due respect to the folks who make their living fishing, but this is enough to put me off fish for a while.
posted by vignettist at 9:41 PM on June 20, 2017 [1 favorite]


or get the russian or tom hanks to fight them

Look at me. LOOK AT ME. I am the apex predator now.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 9:45 PM on June 20, 2017 [2 favorites]


*Alaskan pops in the comments section*
*Alaskan nopes out of the comments section*
posted by weewooweewoo at 10:16 PM on June 20, 2017 [8 favorites]


You all had to free that Willy chap, didn't you?

You never thought he might seek vengeance for his imprisonment, nor that he might have friends.

Well, hope you are happy NOW, Mr. "What Plan? I Got This!"!
posted by Samizdata at 12:08 AM on June 21, 2017


Orcas are not whales, they are porpoises, and they are fucking assholes.

I get your point, but I can think of other large mammals which ritually tease and abuse other mammals while killing them for sport. Mammals with the wherewithal to feed themselves without killing any other animals, none less.

It's a big irony that it's longlining that they can take advantage of though, and trawling is largely immune to that problem. Hopefully the fisheries management can find a fairly rapid fix involving pots, as it must be a horrible risk for the owners of the boats.
posted by ambrosen at 12:54 AM on June 21, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's been going on for 20 years now, I don't think a quick fix is still an option.
posted by fshgrl at 1:29 AM on June 21, 2017


What's that old truism, before a tribe will starve it will set out to raid the neighbors. Is that what is happening here or is this just a learned behavior?

And I have to say it: They're doing it just for the halibut.
posted by Bee'sWing at 5:41 AM on June 21, 2017 [5 favorites]


Pacific Halibut, especially Alaskan Halibut caught on hook-and-line, is one of the best managed fisheries in the world - very sustainable. Quick Cite. - Long Cite.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:58 AM on June 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


So how do they get the actual fish though? "Harass" the boats until they dump it overboard? It seems like the article would mention something as dramatic as them actually tearing the boats apart to get at the creamy fish center.
posted by LiteOpera at 10:57 AM on June 21, 2017


They bite them off the line while the line's still in the water.
posted by ambrosen at 11:15 AM on June 21, 2017


Fishery management, like forestry management, is simply designed to make sure the resource is there year after year for us to harvest. It does little to take into account the impacts within and across ecosystems to come up with a model that is sustainable for other species within the ecosystem.

We clearly have another intelligent species which probably sees a) an opportunity to get food from an easier source than doing the work of hunting themselves, and b) are facing their own resource pressure as other food stocks may be declining, their own population rising, or other factors within the ecosystem that we don't understand impact them.

As someone mentioned up thread, it'd be good to see more information/work being to done to understand what are the root causes.
posted by herda05 at 11:48 AM on June 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


figuring out the pot situation might help some of the more asshole-ish whales chill out

For a bit, sure. But then just imagine the munchies.
posted by The Bellman at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2017 [1 favorite]


For a bit, sure. But then just imagine the munchies

This is gonna be like the story of this guy I knew who made a gigantic batch of medical kettle corn and then ate the entire thing because of the munchies. Except played out in black and white and with fishy business attached and being strung along for the whole ride.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 3:27 PM on June 21, 2017


This reminded me of the killer whales of Eden, who famously cooperated with human whalers in hunting down baleen whales, and shared the spoils.

> Orcas are not whales, they are porpoises, and they are fucking assholes.

A year or so back, I was discussing the notorious orca-beaching-themselves-to-nab-sea-lion-pups-then-violently-tossing them-around-before-scoffing-them footage from The Trials of Life with my dad (who had refused point-blank to let us watch that particular bit of that episode when we were kids), and attempting to stick up for my beloved Jerks of the Sea:

"There's some theories that they fling and batter them around to soften them up by breaking the bones, and to teach their young orca how to hunt."

"Not buying it. There was definitely more than a hint of triumphalism there."

"Circle of life, Dad."

"I hardly think they need to participate in the circle of life with quite so much gusto."

As Welsh-speakers will no doubt guess from my MetaFilter username, I nurse a passionate interest in wild* orca, who are amazingly intelligent, playful, socially complex creatures.

* #EmptyTheTanks

posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 12:31 PM on June 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


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