Crimes Against Marine Life

Crimes Against Animals

Commercial fisherman arrested for illegal possession of explosives and unlawful taking of marine mammals. He built homemade pipe bombs and threw them at dolphins while fishing.

Come celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which was created in 1972 to protect all marine mammals. The Act prohibits, with certain exceptions, the taking of marine mammals in U.S. waters or by U.S. citizens on the high seas, and the importation of marine mammals and marine mammal products into the U.S.

The National Crime Museum is proud to partner with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for this exhibit. Our exhibit will feature photos and objects from actual violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. We will highlight the different violations of the Act, how law enforcement agents investigate those violations, and how you can help protect marine mammals.

Marine Mammal Protection Act 40th Anniversary webpage

Crimes Against Animals

Photo by Dan Beecham / Save Our Seas Foundation
www.saveourseas.com

Other Marine Crimes

Endangered humpback whale entangled in a gill net. NOAA works with fishermen and fishing gear technicians to reduce entanglements through regulations and voluntary measures. Some methods include weak links in the net, time or area closures for gillnet use, and use of acoustic ‘pingers’ on the net to warn marine mammals.

Shark Finning

  • The removal of shark fins from an animal and then discarding its carcass at sea.Shark attacks and attack fatalities are rare; in 1995 more people in the USA were killed by vending machines than by sharks, 2 people killed by vending machine tip-overs and zero by sharks attacks. (or: Dogs, bees, and lightening on average each kill more humans yearly than sharks).
  • Sharks that are finned are most often still alive when their fins are cut off their bodies and are still alive when they are dumped back into the sea to slowly sink to the bottom and be eaten alive or bleed to death.
  • An estimated 100 million sharks are killed annually for their fins.
  • Over 95% of the shark is thrown away, wasted in finning.
  • Shark fin soup is considered an aphrodisiac and a sign of prestige in China; shark fins are flavorless and simply add a gelatinous consistency to the soup in which they are used.
  • To date only 17 countries in the world have banned shark finning. More than 100 countries are involved in the business of trading shark fins.
  • Some studies suggest that most shark species will become extinct in the next few decades if shark finning continues at the rate it is going today because shark harvesting rates are much higher than shark reproduction rates.
  • The disappearance of sharks is likely to have devastating consequences for the marine ecosystem. Predictive modeling has shown that other fish, even those that are the normal prey of sharks, could experience total population crashes if sharks were to go extinct.
  • The rate of shark finning is going up, not down, due to recent increase in demand.
Crimes Against Animals

Endangered humpback whale entangled in a gill net. NOAA works with fishermen and fishing gear technicians to reduce entanglements through regulations and voluntary measures. Some methods include weak links in the net, time or area closures for gillnet use, and use of acoustic ‘pingers’ on the net to warn marine mammals.

Sea Litter

Endangered humpback whale entangled in a gill net. NOAA works with fishermen and fishing gear technicians to reduce entanglements through regulations and voluntary measures. Some methods include weak links in the net, time or area closures for gillnet use, and use of acoustic ‘pingers’ on the net to warn marine mammals.Endangered humpback whale entangled in a gill net. NOAA works with fishermen and fishing gear technicians to reduce entanglements through regulations and voluntary measures. Some methods include weak links in the net, time or area closures for gillnet use, and use of acoustic ‘pingers’ on the net to warn marine mammals.

Endangered humpback whale entangled in a gill net. NOAA works with fishermen and fishing gear technicians to reduce entanglements through regulations and voluntary measures. Some methods include weak links in the net, time or area closures for gillnet use, and use of acoustic ‘pingers’ on the net to warn marine mammals.

  • Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been lost or left behind by in the ocean by fishermen. These nets entangle dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, manatees, whales, and other sea creatures.Animals caught in ghost nets starve, suffocate, and bleed to death if not freed. If an animal’s appendage is caught it may cut off circulation to the limb and the animal can die of infection.
  • Many dolphins, turtles, and sharks mistake balloons, from mass balloon releases, and plastic bags for food and will ingest them without being able to digest them and will slowly starve to death from the obstruction.
  • People toss an approximate 2.5 million pieces of plastic into the oceans hourly.
  • Trash in the ocean kills more than one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles each year through ingestion and entanglement.

How You Can Help

If you witness marine life cruelty or illegal activities, call the 24-hour NOAA Enforcement Hotline 1-800-853-1964
If a beachgoer spots a stranded animal they are required by law to keep their distance, and encouraged to call the Stranding Hotline at 1-800-628-9944 to report the animal to the Maryland Natural Resource Police.
Outside of Maryland? Visit http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/health/networks.htm to get contact information for your local stranding network.”

National Aquarium, Washington
202-482-2826
www.nationalaquarium.com

National Aquarium, Baltimore
410-576-3800
www.aqua.org

Coloring Activities


Back to Crime Library